Skip to main content

Commission Denies Petition To Regulate Small Motor Bikes

Release Date: August 27, 1979

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission on August 23 denied a petition to regulate off-road trail bikes, mini-cycles and mini-bikes sold in the U.S. The petition was submitted by two physicians in Seattle, Washington

The petitioners had urged that federal limitations be set on the maximum speeds these bikes could attain, as well as cautionary labels for parents and children. They also had requested design changes so that each vehicle would accommodate only one rider at least the size of an average 14-year-old.

Although it denied the petition, the Commission discussed how to require disclosure of the accurate speed capabilities of these off- road vehicles, and will work with industry on such disclosure. Speed information may help consumers, particularly parents, weigh the risks of high-speed bikes before purchasing them for children. In addition, the Commission will encourage industry to develop voluntary measures to reduce injuries from motor bike parts which can burn riders, including exhaust pipes.

Since 1973, motor bike injuries requiring emergency room treatment have decreased sharply, from approximately 31,000 in 1973 to approximately 19,100 in 1978. This reduction first became evident in 1975. Approximately 3.6 million off-road bikes are now in use in the U.S.

Additionally, mini-bike sales have decreased from a peak of approximately 140,000 units in 1973 to approximately 50,000 in 1977, according to an industry group. Comparable sales figures are not available for trail bikes and mini-cycles.

Commissioner Stuart M. Statler volunteered to work with industry to explore the possibility of compiling and disclosing the speed information and to promote voluntary safety standards for these vehicles. Young people find the motor bikes particularly appealing and are among the most frequently injured, CPSC staff has reported. For example, 9-year-olds as well as 12-to-14-year-olds were most often injured in mini-bike accidents.

CPSC staff reported that the most common hazard with all three types of bikes involved falling off, which resulted in more than 5,000 injuries in 1978. Almost 1,300 injuries were caused by body contact with hot or moving parts, and more than 1,000 injuries resulted from collisions.

Release Number

About the U.S. CPSC
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risk of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product-related incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products has contributed to a decline in the rate of injuries associated with consumer products over the past 50 years. 

Federal law prohibits any person from selling products subject to a Commission ordered recall or a voluntary recall undertaken in consultation with the CPSC.

For lifesaving information:

Media Contact

Please use the below phone number for all media requests.

Phone: (301) 504-7908
Spanish: (301) 504-7800

View CPSC contacts for specific areas of expertise

Report an unsafe product