Until today I have never heard of a bicycle igniting a vegetation fire. You would think that a road bike being used on a highway would be one of the modes of transportation least likely to start a wildfire.
It turns out, if that bike is modified with an after market wheel hub using a battery-powered electric motor all bets are off.
On Monday 79-year old Gary Ryan was riding his Pinarello Dogma F8 retrofitted with an electric hub motor when the device caught fire on Corkscrew Road in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia (map). (The device may have been similar to this one.) After receiving a slight burn on his leg he got off the bike and watched as flames reported to be 10-feet high shot out of the battery. The fire partially melted the bike’s frame and spread into the vegetation along the highway. Mr. Ryan and other riders backed away as CO² cartridges exploded that he carried on the bike for inflating tires.
Firefighters that happened to be working on a fire nearby responded quickly and knocked the blaze down after it spread for about 100-feet.
Residents and emergency crews in Australia have been on edge for the last four days as they deal with record heat approaching 50C (122F) in some areas.
As more devices used out of doors are battery-powered we are going to be increasingly hearing about fires like this. Wildfire Today has already written about two vegetation fires that were started by drones.
Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Paula.
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