All about bicycles, pedelecs, technology and safety in the press

In our daily work as we deal with bicycle safety, technology and user manuals we come across lots of safety risks. The most frequent ones are published in articles of the leading German special-interest magazines TOUR – Europas Rennrad-Magazin Nr. 1, BIKE – Das Mountainbike Magazin Europas Nr. 1 and E-Bike – Das Pedelec-Magazin to make this information important for the sector accessible to a wider public.

In addition, we are regularly cited by further special-interest magazines or trade journals as well as more and more by radio and television and in their media reports, which shows us that we are completely right with our information.

The section NEWS informs you about the latest news from our specialist fields. The reports and publications of this section are listed chronologically or according to topics of interest.

Eurobike Show Daily 2017 - day 1

Why the industry should celebrate the Product Safety Act’s 20th birthday

Happy Birthday to the European Product Safety Act, which turns 20 this year! Is this reason for the bicycle industry to celebrate? The answer, I believe, is "yes." Here’s why, along with key things the industry needs to know about the law.

At the end of the 1980s, the European Parliament set out to harmonize the laws and regulations that protect EU citizens. Their work led to the 1989 Product Liability Act, a precursor to the Product Safety Act.

Under the Product Safety Act, a manufacturer is liable for a product’s safety over 10 long years. Consumers have the right to expect that a product is suitably safe during its intended or reasonably expected life. Eight years later, in 1997, the more comprehensive, far-reaching Product Safety Act went into effect. Like the Product Liability Act, the Product Safety Act was adopted by member EU states and codified in their national laws. So far, so good, because the laws apply only when a major loss occurred. Because court proceedings take a long time, and because most cases are settled out of court, only a few bicycle-related cases have gone all the way to a court ruling.

From my experience as an expert witness before many courts, however, I know that a few of these rulings required manufacturers to pay considerable monetary damages. Fortunately, other manufacturers have never been subjected to such legal actions under the Product Liability or the Product Safety Acts.

Every pedelec model sold in the EU must undergo extensive testing, or manufacturers can be held personally liable.

The "e" changes everything. The Product Safety Act stipulates that manufacturers are prohibited from bringing a product to market if it, or its packaging or documentation, bears a CE mark, but the product doesn’t comply with the requirements of CE marking. Nor can a manufacturer sell a product that does not have a CE mark.

The act also gives market surveillance authorities the power to prohibit the marketing or display of a non-conforming product. If one is on the market, authorities have the right to order that it be withdrawn or recalled. A conventional bicycle is not, and never has been, covered by the law because it can be sold without a CE mark. Put an electric motor on that bike, however, and everything changes.

Pedelecs — e-bikes that have a maximum speed of 25 kph (15.5 mph) and use a motor rated at 250 watts — must have CE marking. No ifs, ands or buts. Anyone who rents or sells pedelecs or otherwise makes them available on the market is required to comply with this law. Before a manufacturer can put a pedelec on the market, it must meet all requirements stipulated by the harmonization legislation of the European Union.

Dangerously wrong. Manufacturers who believe a pedelec frame merely has to comply with relevant EN or ISO standards are not just wrong, but dangerously wrong, because that can make them vulnerable to enforcement actions. It is not enough for manufacturers to ensure that all components have passed mechanical tests. They must also ensure, for example, that all electrical components have been tested for environmental influences and electromagnetic emissions. Rechargeable batteries must be tested in accordance with UN transport regulations.

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Read the entire article here.

Author: Dirk Zedler

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