Especially in the case of forks material failure can have serious consequences. As a consequence of a fatal accident, Australia’s authorities are considering stricter regulations as to the durability of bicycle parts. It is, however, not only by legislative regulations that the safety of bicycles and parts can be improved, it is also by voluntary safety measures prior to the market launch. In the end realistic load tests during development are not only less expensive for bicycle manufacturers and dealers and require less effort, they also provide more safety when cycling than strict standards with limited-use restrictions.
At the beginning of December the cycle sport portal cycling.today reported on a tragic accident in Australia: A 49-old father of a family died as a result of a serious fall. The cause of the fall was the fracture of the fork steerer tube at full speed, as a consequence of which the cyclist all of a sudden lost control of his road bike. According to the Australian coroner, the material failure originated from a hidden manufacturing defect that remained undetected until this terrible moment after several thousands of miles.
Legal experts are now requesting a time limit for bicycles and bicycle parts to be introduced, at the end of which a product should no longer be used. They refer to similar limits in the aviation industry where material and manufacturing processes are often comparable to those used in the bicycles and bicycle parts production. That’s how accidents like the one of the father of a family are intended to be prevented in the future. The fact that forks in particular bear a certain safety risk is underlined by more than 40 recall actions in the past years. Numerous manufacturers, among them big brands like Canyon, Cervélo, Felt, Giant, Reynolds or Specialized, had to replace several thousands of bicycle forks due to an increased risk of steerer breakage.