UPDATED: CPSC to investigate disk brake/QR theory

A representative of the Consumer Product Safety Commission - the official US safety watchdog which can trigger product recalls - is seeking evidence to back up James Annan's theory that some QRs and some disk brake set-ups can be accidents waiting to happen. But some US IBDs believe the CPSC is no friend to the bike trade...
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The representative is seeking to log any incidents of QR/disk brake wheel popouts as well as any injuries allegedly caused by defectively designed set-ups.

James Annan, the Scottish weather scientist based in Japan and who first raised the alarm about the QR/disk brake problem (if it is a problem, and many eminent engineers agree that it is), believes the CPSC will take the issue very seriously:

"There are two main types of anecdote: 'my wheel fell out' and 'my QR came loose'. The former are of course the most serious aspect of the problem, but the latter are very useful in demonstrating that the problem actually occurs due to the unscrewing as described rather than some sort of operator error.

"It may be hard to diagnose the cause of a complete separation after the event, but it really seems implausible to me to claim that the user did something wrong that could

lead to the QR unscrewing."

Via consumer-facing cycle websites and bulletin boards, Annan is asking enthusiast riders who have experienced either of the two anecdotes above to contact JDeMarco@cpsc.gov

However, one US IBD has urged Annan to tread carefully, lest his 'scare-mongering' triggers needless recalls:

"I'd rather that you not give this stuff to the CPSC! They are not our friend," wrote the IBD.

"They are out to sink the bicycle industry. No bike is safe according to them and they would just as soon see them off the street. Here is an example of what can happen. Worst case scenario if you will, but this actually happened back east several years ago. A kid is riding his CPSC-reflector-equipped Nishiki mountain bike home from his job at Taco Time at 2:00 am with no lights. He runs a red light and is hit by a car and paralyzed. So his parents, of course, sue the bike manufacturer because they sold the bike with reflectors, and hence they assumed it was safe to ride at night. Preposterous, eh? Even though in the fine print in all owner's manuals it says that you must also use lights when riding at night (the manufacturer trying to protect himself there) nevertheless they won and were awarded $8 million from Derby International, the then owner of the Nishiki brand. That whole argument brought to you courtesy of the CPSC, thank you.

"Had the bike not had reflectors, the idiot kid still would have ridden at night but it would have been his own damn fault. For a while there after that we thought the CPSC was going to mandate that all bikes must be sold with lights, since they tried to blame Derby because the bike didn't come with lights but it did come with reflectors which was why they assumed it was safe to ride it at night.

"You just simply can't protect stupid people from themselves by making new laws. Their stupidity will outdo the cleverest lawmaker. So just keep it in the family and let's work to solve the problem, not create new ones."

To find all nine QR/disk brake articles on BikeBiz.co.uk to date, search on 'Annan'.

http://www.cpsc.gov

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