Electric mobility (e-mobility) devices like e-bikes and scooters have transformed the way thousands of people — including Dashers — get across and earn extra income in our cities, and are here to stay. They have become a critical tool at a time where policymakers are looking for ways to reduce car congestion, improve sustainability, move goods safely across the city, and expand options for workers to bring in extra income.
However, as demand for this essential mode of transportation has increased, we have seen how dangerous and illegal products, as well as unsafe charging practices for the lithium-ion batteries powering these e-mobility devices, have sadly caused tragedy, including devastating fires in New York. Now, we all must look at how we can take actions to help prevent these tragedies from continuing to happen.
At DoorDash, our goal is to help ensure these devices remain accessible to all – while addressing safety concerns around them. We’ve already taken meaningful steps to promote safety, including partnering with reputable providers to make safer devices more accessible for Dashers, working closely with public agencies like the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) to share critical safety information, and advocating for policies that would prioritize e-bike and e-mobility safety. Recently, we also donated $100,000 to The FDNY Foundation as part of its lithium-ion battery safety outreach and education efforts.
Given the complexity and scale of the problem, more can be done by all. While fires have become more common in New York City, it’s a growing problem that is not unique to the city alone – it’s a national problem that demands national attention. This means identifying and implementing solutions that stop the flood of dangerous batteries and e-mobility devices from reaching users in the first place.
That’s why we’re unveiling an ambitious new nationwide commitment to help strengthen access to safer e-mobility devices and promote safe usage for Dashers, beginning with targeted initiatives in New York City.
Expanding Access To Safer Devices
People who want to use e-mobility devices deserve affordable access to high-quality devices, but it’s often simply too difficult — whether that’s because of price or lack of supply. Through significant investments and collaborations, we’re working to help unlock more affordable options for Dashers.
We’re excited to announce that we’ve teamed up with REI, the nation’s largest consumer co-op, to help in reducing the cost of accessing quality e-bikes for Dashers beginning in New York City. Thanks to the co-op, Dashers will have access to an exclusive discount on Co-op Cycles Generation-e series bikes — a high-quality cargo style bike geared for heavy loads, long hills, and city use — beginning later this summer. With this offer, we will eventually be able to support affordable e-mobility solutions nationally and at scale, while also providing Dashers the option to purchase e-bikes from a reputable manufacturer that also offers e-bike maintenance services.
This effort will also build on our longstanding relationships with Zoomo and Dirwin that provide discounts on devices for bike Dashers, while expanding options for Dashers to make it even easier to obtain safer, UL certified devices.
Helping Ensure Equity for E-Bike Dashers
We’re also participating in a new effort led by the Equitable Commute Project (ECP), which seeks to support access to e-bikes for under-resourced communities in NYC by overcoming the financial, social, and logistical barriers to e-bike purchase and upkeep. Selected Dashers and delivery workers in New York City will now be able to trade their e-bike or moped for a discounted e-bike that meets the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) standards that certify fire safety.
Improving Micromobility Infrastructure
To help ensure safe charging is more widely available, we’ll be working with the NYC Department of Transportation’s Highway Inspection and Quality Assurance (HIQA) on efforts to improve infrastructure for users of these e-mobility devices. These inspectors play a crucial role in ensuring that NYC’s roadways stay clear for e-mobility users and help keep all those who share our streets safer.
New Education Partnerships
It’s clear that the best way to fight fires caused by unsafe mobility devices is to stop them from happening in the first place. That’s why we’re committed to promoting safety through education and outreach to those in our community who use mobility devices powered by lithium-ion batteries with a new partnership with leading experts PeopleForBikes to develop best-in-class safety information for e-bike battery charging, storage, and riding that will be distributed to Dashers.
Supporting and Strengthening Enforcement Efforts
While education and awareness are crucial aspects to stopping these fires, they do not address the root cause of unsafe batteries: As long as cheap and uncertified batteries and mobility devices are readily available, they will continue to pose safety challenges. It is crucial that we close regulatory gaps to prevent dangerous products from being an option and empower policymakers — at all levels of government — to be able to step up enforcement that stem the tide of unsafe batteries being passed off as legitimate.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is tasked with being on the frontlines in stopping the sale of substandard and faulty micromobility products that pose the greatest fire risks. We will continue to strongly support clear, common-sense policies to establish safeguards like the Setting Consumer Standards for Lithium-Ion Batteries Act in Congress, which would require the CPSC to establish a final consumer product safety standard for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries to help keep Dashers and those around them safe. We are also asking the CPSC to create new safety regulations for e-bikes that will address battery safety. Clearly defined safety standards for e-bikes and other lithium-ion battery driven micromobility devices would provide substantial benefits and help prevent unsafe products from entering the marketplace — an unacceptable outcome that must end.
These important steps forward will not only make life easier for hard-working Dashers; they could potentially save lives. However, we know there is still much more work to be done. We stand ready to work with policymakers, transportation advocates, community leaders, and other stakeholders to help solve these complex problems and achieve our shared goals in a way that keeps our cities safer and our local economies stronger.