Unsafe bicycles have been uncovered in a national product safety surveillance operation involving the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and state and territory consumer affairs agencies.
Together the agencies randomly surveyed a total of 311 bicycles from 84 different retailers. The survey included checking for compulsory safety features such as brakes, reflectors and chain guards as well as the mandatory instructions for bikes sold unassembled.
Acting ACCC chairman Peter Kell said out of the bicycles surveyed, 41 breaches of the mandatory standard were found.
"As a result, eight bicycles were recalled and a number of suppliers were required to rectify breaches to ensure their bikes were compliant with the standard."
"The survey results indicate that bicycle suppliers and their employees must do more to familiarise themselves with the mandatory safety standard, as unsafe bicycles can contribute to serious injury or death.
"Bicycle suppliers who fail to comply with the mandatory standard are not only risking the safety of consumers, but they also risk the expense of product recalls and legal action by the ACCC, including hefty penalties," Mr Kell said.
The mandatory standard for bicycles covers compulsory safety features, labelling and instructions and is important because it contributes to the safety of both cyclists and pedestrians.
Under Australian law, bicycle suppliers – whether they are manufacturers, importers, wholesalers, or retailers – can only sell bicycles in Australia if they comply with the mandatory standard. The mandatory standard also applies to unassembled or partially assembled bicycles.
The ACCC also urges consumers who are buying a bicycle to consider the following safety tips.
- If you're buying an assembled bicycle, make sure that it has mandatory safety features such as protective guards, reflectors, brakes and a warning device.
- If you've bought an unassembled bicycle (e.g. a bike in a box), even if it is partially assembled, you should:
- make sure that it comes with clear and adequate instructions
- ensure that the parts include the abovementioned safety features
- take it to a bicycle mechanic to ensure it's assembled according to the manufacturer's instructions and in safe working order.
- If you're buying a children's bicycle, make sure that it has at least two braking systems and one of them is a back pedal brake.
- Make sure the bike has an identification number that's legible and permanently marked.
- For information about using bikes safely contact your local road traffic authority.
For further information about the standards administered by the ACCC please visit www.productsafety.gov.au, call the ACCC Infocentre on 1300 302 502 or follow us on Twitter at @ProductSafetyAU. For further information about recalled bicycles visit http://www.recalls.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/952906
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