In a Federal Register notice to be published on July 16, the Commission also proposes a two-year labeling requirement for all bicycles that comply with the new regulations. Bicycles introduced into interstate commerce prior to the effective date may continue to be sold, and a label "Meets U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Safety Regulations for Bicycles" would assist consumers to distinguish bicycles that meet the standard.
The bicycle regulations, issued under authority of the Federal Hazardous Substances Act, are directed toward eliminating and reducing the severity of thousands of injuries attributed each year to mechanical and structural problems. The bicycle frame, steering system, wheels and brakes will have to meet requirements and tests for safe construction, effectiveness, strength and performance.
Other provisions require protected edges on metal fenders and coverings for protruding bolts, chain guards for bikes that are not freewheeling, locking devices to secure wheel hubs to the bicycle frame, handlebar, seat and stem clamps, and adequate instructions for assembly and maintenance. Wide angle reflectors on front and rear of the bicycle and on the front and rear surfaces of the pedals will improve night visibility. Manufacturer swill have the alternative of reflectorized tires or wide angle reflectors mounted on the wheel spokes.
Bicycles rank number one on the Commission's product hazard index. Injury experts state that over one million children and adults are injured each year in bike related accidents. The Commission estimates that in 1973, 419,000 persons sought hospital emergency room treatment for injuries associated with bicycles.
Analysis of injuries in Commission files indicate that about 17 percent are directly attributable to mechanical and structural failures, including brake defects, wheel disengagement, steering, shifting and chain problems. Sixty-three percent are related to loss of control and 10 percent to entanglement of body parts in bike components. Some of these accidents also may be reduced by the new safety regulations.
Many bike injuries are the result of the interaction between the rider, the bicycle and the environment, and the Commission has slated a nationwide bicycle education program to begin this fall to encourage rider education and the proper maintenance and use of bicycles.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical or mechanical hazard. CPSC's work to help ensure the safety of consumer products - such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters and household chemicals -– contributed to a decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 40 years.
Federal law bars any person from selling products subject to a publicly-announced voluntary recall by a manufacturer or a mandatory recall ordered by the Commission.
To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury go online to www.SaferProducts.gov or call CPSC's Hotline at 800-638-2772 or teletypewriter at 301-595-7054 for the hearing impaired. Consumers can obtain news release and recall information at www.cpsc.gov, on Twitter @USCPSC or by subscribing to CPSC's free e-mail newsletters.
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