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Fires caused by scooters kill 6 in city this year

SIX people have died in Shanghai this year in fires caused by electric bicycles, which were blamed for a total of 190 blazes over the year, fire officials said.

The number of fires has risen sharply as the number of electric bicycles has grown, officials said.

Most of the cases are blamed on battery malfunctions, fire officials and experts said.

Electric bicycles are generally used in daytime, and must be charged for 6 to 8 hours at night. Excess charging can cause a fire while the owners are sleeping, authorities said during a fire prevention seminar.

Faulty batteries and internal electrical circuit failures are among the main reasons for the fires. Batteries that are used far beyond their recommended usage life can be dangerous, officials said. Two people were killed in the city’s Qingpu District this year due to a fault in an electrical circuit between the battery and the electric engine.

Local industry representatives pledged to strengthen quality control during production and after-sales service to keep consumers safe.

Gu Jinglong, the deputy director-general of the city’s Fire Prevention Bureau, said that while a public education campaign is needed, improvement in local industry technical standards is the main way to ensure electric bicycle safety.



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