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CDFIs Partner for E-Bike Safety

E-bikes provide affordable transportation and help many people earn a living as delivery workers. Unfortunately, the lithium-ion batteries used to power e-bikes – as well as laptops and phones – have been linked to more than 100 fires in New York City so far this year and resulted in 13 deaths.

In September, a new law will require all e-bikes sold in New York City to meet safety standards. That’s good for fire prevention, but not great for workers - as newer, safer bikes are expensive.

That’s where CDFIs come in.

After a deadly fire in Chinatown in late June, Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) and Renaissance Economic Development Corporation got to work supporting displaced families, covering funeral costs, and helping delivery workers get safe e-bikes.

They partnered with Spring Bank and The Equitable Commute Project (ECP) to promote their first Bike Trade-In Event on July 31 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Delivery workers are invited to swap their old e-bike, scooter or moped for discounted fire-safe e-bikes with two batteries, and apply for a low-cost, 12-month GoGreen Cycle Loan from Spring Bank to cover the cost of the purchase. The loan has no credit score minimum requirement, and loan applicants can use IDNYC as their primary form of identification. All trade-ins will be safely and sustainably recycled by My Battery Recyclers.

E-bike batteries are now one of the leading causes of fires in the city, as they are often stored improperly, charged on overloaded extension boards, and improperly refurbished. Unfortunately, in New York City, many e-bike shops are located on the ground floor of century-old tenements.

Non-compliant e-bike batteries put vulnerable residents at risk of injury and death. Since small property owners are often unable to afford renovation costs following building fires, these catastrophic events can also result in the destabilization and eventual sale of buildings to predatory landlords who degrade the neighborhood's affordable housing stock.

New York State CDFIs have a proven track record of forging partnerships to solve complicated problems. Congratulations to Spring Bank and AAFE / Renaissance Economic Development Corporation for tackling issues like fire safety, micro mobility, sustainability, and affordable housing – together.

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