California-based Hansen writes the Legal Viewpoint column in US trade mag Bicycle Retailer & Industry News. He has been acting as general counsel for manufacturers, distributors and retailers in product liability matters since 1986. He’s a licensed USCF roadie and is an enthusiastic cycle tourist, over the years having pedalled the routes of the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Tour de Suisse and Tour Du Pont.
He appears to be worried about an increase in the number of product recalls.
"We are ending the first quarter of 2002 with over two times the number of recreational product (including bicycles) recalls as compared to last year when we only had four recalls by May 1 (the total for all of last year was 25). This year we have ten so far.
"I hope that is not an indication of where we are headed this year."
US recalls to date (some of which have impacted on the UK)
Kent International Inc. of Parsippany, N.J., is voluntarily recalling about 28,000 "Midget Racer" mini-bicycles. The front fork assembly on these mini-bicycles can loosen or break, and cause the rider to lose control and crash.
Alpha International Inc., also known as Gearbox Pedal Car Company, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is voluntarily recalling about 75,000 pedal cars. The paint coating on some of these pedal cars contains high lead levels. CPSC standards ban toys and other children’s products containing high levels of lead. Young children could ingest the lead from the car’s paint coating, presenting a lead poisoning hazard.
BikeE Corp., of Corvallis, Ore., is voluntarily recalling about 13,500 BikeE recumbent bicycles. The recumbent seats on these bicycles can crack and break, causing the seat to come off the frame and resulting in injury to the rider.
Brunswick Corp., of Lake Forest, Ill., is voluntarily recalling about 103,000 Mongoose and Roadmaster mountain bicycles with Ballistic 105 front suspension forks. The forks on these bicycles can break apart, causing riders to lose control, fall and suffer serious injury. By Us International Co. Ltd., of Taiwan, the manufacturer of the bicycle forks, previously announced the recall of 13,500 of these forks in May 2000. The recall was expanded to about 40,000 forks in February 2001. By Us International is no longer cooperating with the recall. Brunswick Corp. is expanding the recall to include all Ballistic model 105 forks sold on the Mongoose and Roadmaster mountain bicycles they manufactured (except the Mongoose A40). The previous recalls were limited to forks with certain serial numbers.
InSTEP LLC, of Mendota Heights, Minn., is voluntarily recalling about 4,300 Hitchhiker III Trailer Bikes. The bike’s universal joint system can fail, causing a rider to lose control of the bike. This poses a risk of injury to either of the two riders.
Specialized Bicycle Components Inc., of Morgan Hill, Calif., is voluntarily recalling about 2,200 bicycles. The rear seatstays, the tube behind the seat that connects the rear axle to the rear shock, can break, possibly causing the rider to lose control and crash.