Code of practice for car-mounted cycle carriers seeks industry acceptance

Following a fatal road accident in which a motorcyclist was killed by cycles falling from a boot-mounted carrier, Lincolnshire and Bedfordshire Trading Standards drafted a code of practice for manufacturers and suppliers of cycle-carriers. This has been financially supported by the DTI, and the TSOs who drafted the code are seeking industry signatories. Those who sign up will gain 'commercial advantages' say the TSOs.
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Ian Turner of Bedfordshire Trading Standards is now on the third draft of the proposed code of practice, the full text of which is given below.

He has consulted with such companies as carrier-maker Pendle Engineering and is now seeking to gain wider industry acceptance for the code of practice. The draft code will be launched next week with details being circulated to cycle consumer magazines.

Turner wishes to highlight the fact there are many carriers on the market which are of poor quality and potentially hazardous.

The Department for Trade and Industry has backed Turner’s campaign with cash for a consumer information leaflet and a research grant for examining the safety of currently available rear-mounted carriers. This research document called for an industry code of practice to act as a benchmark for good-quality carriers.

There has also been enforcement action against low-quality carriers. Two formal cautions have been issued, and one four-bike carrier was withdrawn from market. All of the carriers investigated had some changes to the design or instructions made.

“The problem that was encountered in taking enforcement was the absence of a recognised standard for rear mounted cycle carriers,” said Turner.

”The regulations that any action would be taken under are the General Product Safety Regulations. In the absence of any other standards, these allow for recognised industry standards to be used as the benchmark.”

The code of practice has now reached its final stages and needs to be signed up to by the UK cycle industry. The code will act as a trade standard under European safety legislation, and would be of possible commercial advantage to those who sign up to it, and publicise their acceptance, said Turner.

The official launch of the code will be at the Barns Hotel, Bedford and will take place on 18th June.

Tel: 01234 228280

Email: turneri@bedfordshire.gov.uk

Proposed Code of Practice

Packaging

The following shall appear on the cycle carrier packaging:

* Details of the maximum load capacity of the carrier in both number and maximum weight of cycles.

* A representation of the cycle carrier installed.

* A warning that it is a legal requirement that the vehicle number plate and lighting are visible. If either are obscured when using the carrier they must be reproduced.

* A list of any vehicle type, for which the cycle carrier is known to be unsuitable.

Instructions

Comprehensive assembly, installation and usage instructions must be provided.

The instructions shall include the following:

* A list of all discrete component parts supplied.

* The cycle carrier model designation/product code.

* The name and address within the EU of the manufacturer, importer or agent.

* Precise details of fitment of carrier to vehicles and cycles to carrier.

* Details of the maximum load capacity of the carrier in both numbers and maximum weight of cycles.

* A warning that the carrier and in particular the user attachment devices must be checked routinely for signs of wear and abrasion. Any worn parts being replaced immediately.

* A warning that all user attachment devices must be tightened after the carrier is fully loaded.

* A warning that all user attachment devices must be checked after driving a short distance and rechecked at regular intervals throughout the journey, adjusting as necessary.

* A warning that user attachment devices must not be attached to flexible plastic bumpers.

* Note: User attachment devices must be clearly described. e.g. Straps.

* A warning to retain the instructions for future reference and to ensure that any other user of the carrier is familiar with their contents.

* A warning that the cycles must not be loaded such that they overhang the profile of the vehicle.

* A warning that care must be taken when loading the carrier to ensure that a satisfactory ground clearance is maintained between the cycles and the road and that additional caution should be taken when negotiating rough surfaces, humps in the road or car ferry ramps.

* A warning that the handling characteristics of a vehicle will change when a carrier is fitted and especially when it is loaded. In particular crosswind sensitivity, handling on bends and braking. Driving techniques should be altered to allow for these changes, reduce speed, especially on bends and allow longer braking distances.

* A warning that it is a legal requirement that the vehicle number plate and lighting are visible. If either are obscured when using the carrier they must be reproduced.

Product

The product must display the following:

* Details of the maximum load capacity of the carrier in both number and maximum weight of cycles.

* The cycle carrier model designation/product code.

* The name, of the manufacturer, importer or agent.

* A warning that all user attachment devices must be checked and if necessary adjusted at regular intervals throughout the journey.

* Note: User attachment devices must be clearly described. e.g. Straps.

Testing

Evidence must be available that testing, with the carrier loaded to 150% of its maximum rated load, has been carried out in the following areas:

* Prolonged use at speed/Vibration.

* Rough Terrain/Vibration.

* Swerve/Slalom.

* Braking.

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