SECOND eScooter catches fire: Rental firm Voi UK quits Bristol pilot scheme after its two-wheeler billowed SMOKE in user’s home… just days after gadget EXPLODED on packed London Tube
- E-scooter brand VOI UK has halted a pilot scheme after a machine caught fire
- The machine’s lithium battery caused it to ignite inside a user’s house in Bristol
- It comes just days after the London Tube banned e-scooters after a fire on a train
An brand of e-scooters has halted its pilot scheme in Bristol after one of its machines began burning inside a house.
The Voi UK machine was billowing smoke – prompting firefighters to race to the resident’s home on Saturday.
Its lithium battery had caught fire due to an electrical fault while in the house of its renter Tiarnan Power. Voi UK has now told long-term rental users in Bristol to leave their machines outside and not use them.
Mr Power told the BBC: ‘I called Voi and they said to call 999 – the street was completely covered in smoke. It just shows how lucky I was. If I wasn’t in, or, I was asleep, it would have been a complete disaster.’
Avon Fire and Rescue Service hosed down the Voi and disposed of the smoking battery.
In April, homeowner Shane Clarke was stunned to find over 100 e-scooters outside his house in Bristol – after it was made into an official parking spot without him knowing
Jack Samler, General Manager at Voi UKI, told the BBC: ‘We had an instance of smoke being emitted from one of our Long Term Rental e-scooters in Bristol earlier this month. This was an isolated, one-off incident with one of our long-term rental scooters.
‘As an extreme precautionary measure, we asked users to keep the scooters outside whilst we assessed the situation – all users have been refunded for the inconvenience for the month of December.
‘We have been continuously in touch with our users and informed them the vehicles were being serviced, as a preventive safety measure.
‘Many users are already using the service again. Very soon, all users should be able to continue to enjoy our long-term rental service to move around in a sustainable manner.’
The Voi was part of a long-term rental scheme – separate from the different ‘hop on/ hop off’ e-scooters in use in Bristol.
West of England Combined Authority (WECA) are running trials of the scheme until 2022. The investigation into what exactly caused the electrical fault is ongoing.
London Fire Brigade has backed the move to ban e-scooters on the Tube after a machine erupted into flames on a packed train in Parsons Green last month
Voi E-scooters were being used in a trial in Bristol but have since been halted after a machine caught fire
It’s not the first time the controversial vehicles have attracted headlines. They have been banned from the London Tube after a machine caught fire at Parsons Green underground station last month, with one passenger suffering smoke inhalation.
It was revealed the London Fire Brigade had attended more than 50 fires involving e-scooters and e-bikes so far this year – more than double the amount seen in 2020.
They are often caused by faulty third-party batteries bought cheap off the internet which don’t meet safety standards.
Investigators found the flames on the tube to be ‘particularly ferocious’ and while they tend to happen in homes, they pose a significant danger when stored in escape routes such as hallways and corridors.
And in April, a stunned homeowner in Bristol awoke to find over 100 e-scooters outside his house – after it was made an official parking spot without him knowing
Baffled Shane Clarke, 60, opened his front door to find an e-scooter pile-up outside his property in an upmarket suburb in the city.
The council later cleared the scooters, which were close to an open park.
What are the laws on e-scooters?
Renting an e-scooter is the only way to legally ride the vehicle on some public roads or in other public place at the moment.
But the controversial vehicles could be approved for use across the UK following a trial period. Currently, 10 London boroughs are taking part in the scheme with three providers to test how e-scooters work on the capital’s roads.
Riding e-scooters on the pavement however is banned, and riders must be 18 or over and have a full or provisional driving licence to rent one.
It is also illegal to use privately owned e-scooters or other powered transporters on public roads.
Relevant laws on e-scooter use include:
On public roads, anyone using a privately owned e-scooter or other powered transporter is likely to be committing at least one of a number of offences such as driving a motor vehicle with no insurance. You could be liable for a fixed penalty of £300 and six points on your driving licence
On pavements, it is generally an offence to drive a motor vehicle, and this applies at all times to e-scooters and powered transporters
E-scooters and powered transporters may be used on private land with permission from the landowner or occupier
E-scooters rented from the TfL scheme will be permitted to ride on London’s public roads and cycle infrastructure in participating boroughs.
These boroughs will designate no-go areas where e-scooters cannot be ridden and will come to a safe stop, as well as go-slow areas, where the speed of e-scooters will be reduced to 8mph