Home
Bikes must have front & rear brakes, says safety body... oh, and reflectors and bell

Bicycle dealers in Australia selling fixed gear bikes, as much a part of bike culture there as elsewhere in the world, are now being threatened with fines of up to $1.1 million if they do not comply with consumer safety standards, including the provision of both front and rear brakes.

In a July 2010 bulletin, government trading standards body the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) warns that some bikes being sold by retailers could contravene consumer safety legislation and legal safety requirements.

"Having no brakes or only a front brake can cause the rider to lose control and be propelled over the handlebars to the ground," the ACCC said in its bulletin.

"Whether this occurs in mixed road traffic or elsewhere, the rider can suffer serious head injuries, broken bones and/or lacerations and bruises,” it continued.

"Pedestrians and other bike riders are also at risk of serious injury or death if someone riding a fixed-gear bike loses control and collides with them," the ACCC added.

The ACCC is now calling on members of the public to let it know of bike shops selling bicycles that contravene safety standards, such as those without bells or reflectors as well as brakes.

According to the section governing brakes of the Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 1927:1988 Pedal bicycles— Safety Requirements:

  • At least two brakes are fitted, one on the front wheel and the other on the back.
  • Hand brakes are accessible to a rider in the normal riding position.
  • The right lever connects to the front brake and the left lever to the rear brake.
  • Brake friction pads are securely attached to the backing plate or holder and, when applied, touch only the wheel rim.
  • For bicycles with cantilever brakes—a safety device is fitted to prevent the stirrup cable from touching the tyre.
  • For children’s bicycles (with a wheel base of 640–765 mm)—a back-pedal brake is fitted.

Last year, we reported how police in Germany had confiscated fixed gear bikes that did not comply with the legal requirement to have two brakes.

In the UK, The Pedal Cycles Construction and Use Regulations 1983 require pedal cycles "with a saddle height over 635mm to have two independent braking systems, with one acting on the front wheel(s) and one on the rear".

One common interpretation of this is that having a front brake and a fixed rear wheel satisfes this requirement.
 

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

45 comments

Avatar
STATO [508 posts] 6 years ago
0 likes

"For bicycles with cantilever brakes—a safety device is fitted to prevent the stirrup cable from touching the tyre."

What this when its at home then? dont think ive ever seen anything that would satisfy this law, apart from a front reflector baracket off the fork crown maybe.

Avatar
OldRidgeback [2627 posts] 6 years ago
0 likes

Stato - yep a front reflector bracket fits the bill. To be honest, anyone riding a brakeless fixie on the road needs their head examining. I'm not sure about the front brake only bikes.

But what if the Aussie dealers are pitching bikes at track riders? Does this mean when you buy a track bike it has to have brakes as well?

Avatar
surreyxc [49 posts] 6 years ago
0 likes

rules is rules, the Australian nanny state is an embarrassment and shameful to all that was good in its past.

Avatar
pickles [29 posts] 6 years ago
0 likes
OldRidgeback wrote:

But what if the Aussie dealers are pitching bikes at track riders? Does this mean when you buy a track bike it has to have brakes as well?

No - the regulations are full of loopholes wide enough to steer a chopped-down riser-barred fixie through.

Exemptions include: track specific, custom built, folding, tandems, recumbents, children's and secondhand bikes.

Apparently the UK has the same regulations: bikes must have front and back hand operated brakes WHEN SOLD, but can be ridden with a rear brake controlled by pedal rotation.

Avatar
ribena [179 posts] 6 years ago
0 likes

The 'stirrup' thing is because if the brake cable snaps, the canti brakes spring apart pulling the stirrup down (cable joining the two canti brakes) onto the tyre, which can suddenly bring the front tyre to a halt (esp if its an off road mtb tyre).

Avatar
Decster [246 posts] 6 years ago
0 likes
surreyxc wrote:

rules is rules, the Australian nanny state is an embarrassment and shameful to all that was good in its past.

probably a fear of the media publicity it might generate should a fixie end up under a truck and the parents causing a storm. but western societies are becoming nanny states dictating they know better......  14

Avatar
italiafirenze [70 posts] 6 years ago
0 likes

It's almost as if Australia would rather nobody cycled, given the amount of rules and legislation they have regarding the area.

Avatar
mingus [4 posts] 6 years ago
0 likes

I wish people would keep whinging about a Nanny State every time these things come out. As has already been discussed the loopholes in the standard allow brakeless fixies for trak use, which basically means such bikes will have signs/stickers on them saying "Track Use Only" in big red scary letters. These stickers will be taken off and the bikes ridden however the owners damn well please. I remmeber seeing such stickers on bikes in london when i was there 12 months ago, has it made any difference? Of course not!

Of course the road rules also require "at least one funcioning brake", i'm not sure if a brakeless fixie satisfies this.

Avatar
alotronic [471 posts] 6 years ago
0 likes

Australian Nanny State?! That makes me laugh!

Australia is one of those places where the rules may look tight but in practice things are wayyyy looser than here. For example you don't need an annual vehicle check in Melbourne, you just wait until a cop takes the time to stop and put a sticker on your bomb, which, as you can imagine, happens... pretty much never.

As for riding in Melbourne it's a fraking full on experience. Nothing quite like being at the lights on a massive urban gird with wiiiide roads surrounded by men in V8 who believe that 30mph actually means it's ok to drive at 50. Plus the 'hook turn'. Look that one up! If you think riding in London is hard, well.... it's busier but a lot less dangerous. Ended up doing 90% of my riding on the (rather good) bike path network.

A classic example of some d*ck head with nothing much to do and probably some pressure from an outraged state representative whose limo got cut up by a fixie on the way to work.

A

Avatar
OldRidgeback [2627 posts] 6 years ago
0 likes

alotronic - yep I've been to Melbourne and learned the (in)famous hook turn. It takes some getting used to. I've driven there, never ridden there so I'll have to take your word for the risk factors. One way to compare would be to evaluate accident statistics I suppose.

Avatar
David French [50 posts] 6 years ago
0 likes

I ride a brakeless fixie just for getting about and to go from my car to work because I can't park too close as it's in a crappy area.

Pretty much I know when a dangerous area is like if there are side roads and I slow down. Sure I might not then get my PB on a given road each day but it's still a fuck load quicker than walking!

I quite like the simplicity though and I think I'm a better road user having ridden one for a while  4

Avatar
djcritchley [181 posts] 6 years ago
0 likes

So a penny farthing would be out of the question then ...

Avatar
anotherdeadhero [16 posts] 6 years ago
0 likes
Quote:

Brake friction pads are securely attached to the backing plate or holder and, when applied, touch only the wheel rim.

Fashion and haters aside, no disc brakes in Aus either then huh?

Avatar
blundershot [20 posts] 6 years ago
0 likes
italiafirenze wrote:

It's almost as if Australia would rather nobody cycled, given the amount of rules and legislation they have regarding the area.

Living in Aus I have absolutely NO problem with the 'nanny state' approach to cycling - certainly a lot safer to cycle here than the UK. And here in Perth the commitment from government for provision for cycling infrastructure is considerable compared to the UK - over 700k's of cycle way and a few hundred kilometres of car free cycle paths. I can sit on 30+ kph all 8k's to the city car free without any traffic lights or road crossings to slow me down. But then we work with the Department of Transport for better facilities - not fight every decision they make in our interest (we don't whine because we have to wear a helmet).

With many of the million new bikes sold in Aus every year being bought by 'mums' for their teenage kid's birthday or at christmas time I endorse the enforcement of the rules.

Avatar
Tony Farrelly [2868 posts] 6 years ago
0 likes

Wow, sounds great over there. Maybe one day you'll have cycle usage on a par with the Netherlands or Denmark where they are all forced to wear lids too… oh hold on

Avatar
blundershot [20 posts] 6 years ago
0 likes

and before the flames start with the the ol' 'fat Aussie' chestnut and cyclehelmets.org BS..

OECD stats show -
Aussie adults with a BMI above 30 is 21.7%
UK adults with BMI above 30 is 24%
http://stats.oecd.org/health/

Lets have a look at some of the other stats on the OECD site...
Life Expectancy -
Australia is ranked 3rd
UK is ranked 18th
http://stats.oecd.org/health/

How about heart disease?
Australia 110.9 deaths per 100,000 people
UK 122 deaths per 100,000 people
http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/hea_hea_dis_dea-health-heart-disease-d...

And while the nonsense stats from the cyclehelmets.org and their 'selective' use of data show drops in cycling numbers, lets look at at cycling patterns in Perth WA (as it is touted as an example of how cycling helmet laws caused a drop in cycling).

The Department of Transport data (an edited 'version' of which is used on cyclehelmets.org) on cycling numbers since 1998 shows a 450% INCREASE in the number of cyclists.
http://www.transport.wa.gov.au/cycling/20051.asp

Of course the Department's data collection methods and full stats are available on that site, unlike cyclehelmets.org's 'dead' links and 'edited' excel spreadsheets supposedly from the Department of Transport.

Long Live the Nanny State!!

Avatar
blundershot [20 posts] 6 years ago
0 likes
tony_farrelly wrote:

Wow, sounds great over there. Maybe one day you'll have cycle usage on a par with the Netherlands or Denmark where they are all forced to wear lids too… oh hold on

chances are we will get closer than the UK ever will =P

edit: we are not 'forced' to wear helmets any more than we are 'forced' to not speed in our cars...
also we are conditioned from early childhood to wear a hat because of the sun (in school 'not hat no play' rules apply) so wearing a helmet is quite natural for us...
And I fail to see any relationship between cycling numbers and helmet laws... and the stats back that up.

Avatar
Tony Farrelly [2868 posts] 6 years ago
0 likes

no, the Dutch don't seem to see any relationship either  39

Avatar
blundershot [20 posts] 6 years ago
0 likes
tony_farrelly wrote:

no, the Dutch don't seem to see any relationship either  39

no helmet laws in the UK and not many cyclists either... but then don't let logic get in the way of your vanity whine

edit: I'm ready to admit it may not be vanity... perhaps you're just 'fighting the man'

Avatar
abudhabiChris [692 posts] 6 years ago
0 likes
blundershot wrote:
tony_farrelly wrote:

no, the Dutch don't seem to see any relationship either  39

no helmet laws in the UK and not many cyclists either... but then don't let logic get in the way of your vanity whine

Err, actually the average percentage of passenger journeys by bicycle in Australian capital cities is 1.3% compared to over 2% in London.

That, BTW, is a decline since 2001, when it was 1.4%.

Even in Melbourne, which is by far the biggest cycling city, it is only 1.6%. Sydney is a pathetic .8%.

But don't let facts get in the way of the right of every Australian to an utterly misguided sense of superiority, blessedly preserved by blind insularity.

Avatar
blundershot [20 posts] 6 years ago
0 likes

and can you back your claims up with stats? I doubt it...
give me "misguided sense of superiority, blessedly preserved by blind insularity" over constant whining over the simple act of wearing a helmet... bleat on - it is your national pastime

*the only reason I post about this issue is because I am sick of the constant 'soft racism' about cycling in Aus... so there ya go.. a serve back at ya

edit: I guess you are quoting cyclehelmets.org with yr claims... well read my post above about what a load of BS their stats are

Avatar
Fish_n_Chips [486 posts] 6 years ago
0 likes

Melbourne riding was like a race with loads of riders commuting it was great but all had helmets as it is the law.

Didn't Oz see a decline in cyclists with helmet use becoming law?

I guess we can frown but there are many idiot cyclists who can crash into a elderly walker killing them or losing control and killing themselves.

Nothing will stop 100% but 2 brakes is fine by us roadies!

Avatar
blundershot [20 posts] 6 years ago
0 likes
Fish_n_Chips wrote:

...Didn't Oz see a decline in cyclists with helmet use becoming law?...

that's a myth perpetuated by the likes of cyclehelmets.org to support their cause, the reality of cycling numbers in West Oz is better reflected in the stats published by the DoT (see above)

Avatar
dave atkinson [6224 posts] 6 years ago
0 likes
blundershot wrote:

I guess you are quoting cyclehelmets.org with yr claims... well read my post above about what a load of BS their stats are

nobody mentioned helmets until you did, since it's not what this story is about. why do you keep going on about them?

Avatar
blundershot [20 posts] 6 years ago
0 likes

italiafirenze wrote: "It's almost as if Australia would rather nobody cycled, given the amount of rules and legislation they have regarding the area."

I assume he was posting about helmets... what other 'rules and legislation' would he be discussing when having a go at Aussie cycling?

Helmet laws in Oz being such a fun topic in the UK (ya can have a laugh at how fat Aussies are at the same time as backing your anti helmet cause - if you believe the BS stats)

Avatar
dave atkinson [6224 posts] 6 years ago
0 likes
blundershot wrote:

I assume he was posting about helmets...

certainly if you've got a particular bee in your bonnet, that's the assumption you'd make...

Avatar
dave atkinson [6224 posts] 6 years ago
0 likes
abudhabichris wrote:

Err, actually the average percentage of passenger journeys by bicycle in Australian capital cities is 1.3% compared to over 2% in London.

blundershot wrote:

and can you back your claims up with stats? I doubt it...

you might want to take a quick look at the modal share stats in this article:

http://chartingtransport.wordpress.com/2010/01/16/urban-density-and-publ...

it might all be lies, of course. but the author doesn't seem to have any particular axe to grind. i don't know if he wears a helmet on his bike, or even if he rides one  4

Avatar
blundershot [20 posts] 6 years ago
0 likes

off topic (or more off topic I guess): does that moustache have any relationship to Godwin's Law?

Avatar
dave atkinson [6224 posts] 6 years ago
0 likes

here's the paper it relates to, if anyone's interested

Avatar
dave atkinson [6224 posts] 6 years ago
0 likes

Perth's down as 1.2% modal share for cycling on the data from 2000-2006. assuming the total level of journeys hasn't changed the 2010 stats from blundershot's post suggest it's upped it's share to about double that, so top marks to Perth for pulling their fingers out. That's better than London. It's hardly Assen though.

Pages