Mackinac Island police warn of the dangers of e-bikes after battery explosion causes fire and injuries

Electric bikes are indeed a controversial topic when it comes to Mackinac Island. But after a recent fire broke out due to a battery exploding, police are urging extra caution for anyone using a battery.

Mackinac Island Police Chief Doug Topolsky said Thursday that residents, visitors and employers who use e-bikes should “take whatever action is necessary to ensure that ebikes and e-batteries are not stored indoors under any circumstances.”

Tobolsky said that a recent fire in an apartment building was caused by an e-bike battery exploding, causing injuries to firefighters, which required hospitalization.”

“The recent fire had a very real potential to be catastrophic for the residential area occupied by the island’s full-time residents and seasonal employees. It would not be an exaggeration to suggest that a fire of this nature could pose an existential threat to many of the island’s businesses and historic buildings if it were to occur,” Topolsky said. unnoticed in the downtown area.”

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The topic of e-bikes on Mackinac Island has been hot in recent years with the growth of e-bikes, and the ban on motorized vehicles on the island.

Currently, the Mackinac Island e-bike policy goes as follows: E-bikes are not permitted on Mackinac Island. But there is an exception: Visitors with a qualifying “motor impairment” can ride Class 1 electric bikes on Mackinac Island.

Mackinac Island City ordinance defines “mobility impairment” and spells out the specifications for permitted e-bikes.

  • Under the Mackinac Island city ordinance dealing with e-bikes, disability means “a physical impairment that significantly limits an individual’s ability to ride a bicycle.” For example, the law states that a person who cannot walk 200 feet without stopping to rest or who cannot walk without the assistance of an assistive device has a mobility impairment. Likewise, certain respiratory, cardiac, rheumatoid, neurological, and orthopedic health conditions are also considered movement impairments.
  • A Class 1 electric bike is a two-wheeled bicycle or tricycle. It has an electric motor of no more than 750 watts. The engine only starts when the rider is pedaling and stops once the bike reaches a speed of 20 mph.

  • Class 2 electric bikes with a motor that works even when the rider is not pedaling and Class 3 electric bikes that can exceed 20 mph are not allowed on Mackinac Island. (If you already have a Class 2 or Class 3 electric bike, you can still ride that vehicle on Mackinac Island by modifying it to meet Class 1 e-bike standards. You may be able to do this by removing the throttle, for example, or by by reprogramming the e-bike’s computer so that its speed does not exceed 20 miles per hour.)

The Grand Hotel has banned e-bikes from hotel buildings and staff residences.

Read more about the island’s e-bike policy here.

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