What's happening: The lithium-ion batteries that power electric bikes and scooters keep exploding, starting fires, and killing people.
• Earlier this year, a 63-year-old man was killed and nearly a dozen people injured when an e-scooter battery exploded and ignited a blaze that engulfed a three-story house in Queens, N.Y. Days later, 18 children were injured when an unauthorized day care center, also in Queens, caught fire due to a lithium-ion battery explosion.
• Earlier this month, an electric bike battery sparked a massive blaze in the West Bronx that injured seven people—two seriously—and destroyed a local grocery store.
By the numbers: In 2022, electric bike and scooter batteries caused 216 fires that injured 147 people and killed six in New York City alone. So far this year, the batteries have been blamed for 22 fires resulting in 36 injuries and two deaths in New York City.
Why it matters: This is also another scandal that Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has failed to address since taking office. Buttigieg, 41, is obsessed with bicycles of all kinds. He purchased an electric bicycle shortly after moving to Washington, D.C., in 2021.
Context: In addition to repaving the road in front of his house, one of Buttigieg's only accomplishments as mayor of South Bend, Ind., where he served eight years before running for president at the age of 37, was cutting a deal with Lime, an electric bike and scooter rental service, to establish a fleet of the dangerous contraptions in the college town. The Lime bikes and scooters Buttigieg worked so hard to bring to South Bend have since been turned into scrap metal.
What they're saying: "Green bikes. The Lime bikes. That's about all I really know of [Mayor Pete Buttigieg], man. But does anybody know him? Nah, I don't know if anybody knows him or not. I don't know anybody that does know him." —Mark Anthony Plummer, black resident of South Bend
Bottom line: This is the future liberals want.