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Consumers (27-05-2011)

Consumers: EU to set safety standards for bicycles

Parents and carers want to be sure that the bicycles they buy for their children are safe and do not expose them to any potential harm. Given that more than one third of injuries involving a bicycle in the EU concern children between 5 and 9 years1 , the EU wants to set specific safety standards. This is why Member States across the EU gave the green light this week to safety requirements for bicycles and luggage carriers for bicycles.

Why this matters

If bicycles are unsafe, children can suffer serious injuries to the head, chest, abdomen or limbs, particularly as a result of falls. Young cyclists tend to be injured while playing or riding too fast2 and are particularly vulnerable to falls. This is because they are developing their motor skills, and they are still learning how to handle their bike to avoid obstacles, pedestrians or other cyclists, all at a time when balancing is still difficult.

Although road accidents account for a significant share of accidents, many accidents take place while playing, as young cyclists collide, or simply fall off their bikes. In the United Kingdom, it has been estimated that over 2.000 children are taken to hospital each year after a cycling accident at home, and a further 21.000 after accidents in places like parks and playgrounds.3

What the safety requirements cover

The safety requirements concern in particular, bicycles for young children, but also concern city and trekking as well as mountain and racing bikes. They will cover for example: stability; durability; adjustability; design issues to avoid injury and withstand force, and also aim to ensure that full and understandable product information is provided.

What next

The safety requirements will be examined by the European Parliament and the Council, they will then go to the College of Commissioners for a formal decision before being sent to the European Standardisation bodies. Once published in the Official Journal they become the point of reference for manufacturers to produce safe products and for market surveillance authorities when checking that such products meet the safety standards.

http://www.rospa.com/roadsafety/info/cycling_accidents.pdf
Injury Database 2006-2008
http://www.capt.org.uk/resources/talking-about-cycle-safety

For info on other product specific projects : http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/safety/projects/index_en.htm