Bicycle Safety Standards and Regulations in the EU: An Overview

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Bicycle Regulations European Union

Bicycles might pose substantial risks to the consumers, in the case they contain components that are defective or are designed without taking into account the necessary safety requirements. Like most consumer products placed in the European Union, bicycles require compliance with the relevant safety standards and regulations.

In this guide, we cover the General Product Safety Directive, REACH, relevant safety standards, and more, for products such as:

  • Racing bicycles
  • Mountain bikes
  • City bicycles
  • Trekking bicycles
  • Children’s bicycles

Note that in this guide we don’t cover specific regulations for e-bikes and stationary gym bikes.

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General Product Safety Directive (GPSD)

The General Product Safety Directive (GPSD) aims to ensure that consumer products are safe before they can be placed in the European Union market.

Any product deemed unsafe – for example, because it does not meet the GPSD’s technical requirements – may be denied entry into the EU, recalled by authorities, or even removed from Amazon.

Safety Standards

Consumer products, including bicycles, should comply with the safety requirements established by the GPSD. Bicycles and their components’ compliance with the relevant harmonized standards provides a presumption that the products conform with the GPSD’s technical requirements.

In the following sections of this guide, we include a list of harmonized standards relevant to bicycles.

Other Requirements

The GPSD requires importers and manufacturers of products that fall under the scope of the directive to provide documentation such as the following:

  • Risk assessment report
  • User instructions
  • Technical file
  • Traceability label
  • Test reports

EN ISO 4210 – Cycles. Safety requirements for bicycles

EN ISO 4210 is a 9-part document that details the safety requirements of bicycles, including racing bicycles, city bicycles, and more. Part 1 specifies relevant definitions, such as for example:

a. “Mountain bicycle” is defined as a bicycle designed for use off-road or on public roads, and equipped with a strengthened frame.

b. “Racing bicycle” is defined as a bicycle intended for high-speed amateur use on public roads and has a steering assembly with multiple grip positions, and specific dimensions and weight

Part 2 of the standard specifies the relevant safety requirements related to city and trekking, young adult, mountain, and racing bicycles.

Parts 3-9 specify methods for testing the safety of the bicycles mentioned in part 2.

Product Scope

EN ISO 4210 covers products such as the following:

  • City bicycles
  • Trekking bicycles
  • Young adult bicycles
  • Mountain bicycles
  • Racing bicycles

Also, EN ISO 4210 exempts products, such as:

  • Delivery bicycles
  • Recumbent bicycles
  • Tandem bicycles
  • BMX bicycles
  • Bicycles used in competition events, or stunting

Parts

The 9-part safety requirements mentioned above are listed below:

a. EN ISO 4210-1 – Terms and definitions

b. EN ISO 4210-2 – Requirements for city and trekking, young adult, mountain and racing bicycles

c. EN ISO 4210-3 -Common test methods

d.EN ISO 4210-4 – Braking test methods

e. EN ISO 4210-5 – Steering test methods

f. EN ISO 4210-6 – Frame and fork test methods

g. EN ISO 4210-7 – Wheels and rims test methods

h. EN ISO 4210-8 – Pedal and drive system test methods

i. EN ISO 4210-9 – Saddles and seat-post test methods

EN ISO 8098 Cycles – Safety requirements for bicycles for young children

EN ISO 8098 covers requirements relevant to the safety, design, assembly, and performance of bicycles (both completely and partially assembled) for young children. It also specifies testing methods for the products.

Furthermore, the standard should include the provision of guidance instructions relevant to the care and usage of the bicycles.

Product Scope

EN ISO 8098 applies to bicycles with saddles between 435 mm and 635 mm in height, and that are equipped with rear-wheel transmission. It does not apply to BMX bicycles, or other bicycles intended to perform stunts.

Requirements

The standard provides testing methods that include instructions on how to perform safety testing and performance testing for covered bicycles. It also covers information on how to draft instructions for the care and usage of the product.

EN ISO 11243 – Cycles – Luggage carriers for bicycles – Requirements and test methods

EN ISO 11243 includes requirements relevant to the safety and performance of the testing and design of mountable luggage carriers located above or beside bicycle wheels.

The standard also provides guidance relevant to the care and usage instructions of the aforementioned luggage carriers.

Product Scope

EN ISO 11243 applies only to luggage carriers that are intended to be affixed to bicycles. It does not apply to removable luggage carriers (eg removable baskets or handlebar bags).

Requirements

The standard covers methods for the safety and performance testing of bicycle-mounted luggage carriers. It provides instructions on how to test the aforementioned carriers in terms of design, performance, and more.

It also states what information should be provided on the care and usage instructions for the product.

Toy Safety Directive

The Toy Safety Directive aims at ensuring that toys must be safe for children to play with before being placed in the EU market. Some types of bicycles are considered toys, and as such, fall under the Toy Safety Directive’s scrutiny.

Product Scope

The Toy Safety Directive applies to products that are intended to be used in play by children that have less than 14 years.

As specified in the “GUIDANCE DOCUMENT ON THE APPLICATION OF DIRECTIVE 2009/48/EC ON THE SAFETY OF TOYS”, for a bicycle to be considered a toy, the saddle must reach a maximum of 435 mm in height. The distance should be measured from the ground to the top of the seat set in a horizontal position (and with the seat pillar set to the minimum insertion mark).

Bicycles with saddles with a height between 435 mm and 635 mm are subject to EN ISO 8098 and fall under the scope of the GPSD.

Requirements

The Toy Safety Directive requires importers and manufacturers to properly label their products with items such as the following:

  • CE marking
  • Product traceability label
  • Warning labels (if necessary)

It also requires importers and manufacturers to provide documentation such as the following:

Bike Electronics

Bicycles can be equipped with electronic devices, such as bicycle GPS, speedometers, or lighting. Such components might fall under the scrutiny of different directives and regulations that cover electronics.

Directives

As said, additional directives and regulations might apply to electronic components. Here is an overview:

a. RoHS Directive, which restricts chemicals and heavy metals

b. EMC Directive, which regulates electromagnetic compatibility

c. Low Voltage Directive, which covers electrical safety for electronics with more than 50 volts in input or output (e.g. AC adapter)

d. Radio Equipment Directive, which regulates radio devices such as GPS, wireless or Bluetooth devices

e. WEEE Directive, which sets labeling, disposal, and registration requirements for electronics

CE Marking

CE marking requirements applies to products that fall under the scope of CE marking directives. This includes the RoHS Directive, EMC Directive, Low Voltage Directive, or Radio Equipment Directive.

Electronic devices intended for mounting on bicycles might require compliance with one or more directives listed above. Importers and manufacturers must provide items such as the following to ensure compliance with one or more “CE marking directives”:

  • Declaration of Conformity
  • Technical file
  • Risk assessment report
  • User instructions
  • CE marking
  • WEEE mark
  • Product traceability label
  • Test reports
  • Warning label (if relevant)

ISO 6742 – Cycles – Lighting and retro-reflective devices

ISO 6742 is a 5-part standard that applies to lighting devices mounted on bicycles (cycles used on public roads) that fall under the scope of EN ISO 4210 or EN ISO 8098, which we covered in previous sections of this article. The five parts of the document are listed below:

1. Lighting and light signaling devices

2. Retro-reflective devices

3. Installation and use of lighting and retro-reflective devices

4. Lighting systems powered by the cycle’s movement

5. Lighting systems not powered by the cycle’s movement

ISO 6742 sets out safety requirements, functions, test methods, and photometric performance of signaling and lighting devices used on bicycles.

REACH

Many items in our day-to-day lives might be manufactured with all manner of chemical substances. Therefore, the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) aims to restrict dangerous substances on consumer products.

Substance Restrictions

REACH sets substance restrictions that generally apply to heavy metals, chemicals, and other harmful substances.

Bicycles are equipped with multiple components, some of which could contain hazardous chemical substances such as lead in the paint, phthalates in the plastic parts, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in rubber parts.

Here are some examples of substances restrictions under REACH’s Annex XVII, and their respective limit:

  • DNOP (Phthalate) < 0.1% by weight
  • DNIP (Phthalate) < 0.1% by weight
  • DDP (Phthalate) < 0.1% by weight
  • PAHs < 0.1% by weight

Lead is restricted by Annex XVII to 0.05% by weight for jewelry and articles that may be placed in the mouth of children. Even if Annex XVII doesn’t restrict lead, the substance is still classified as a Substance of Very High Concern (SVHC).

SCIP Database Registration

Importers and manufacturers whose products contain Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) in a concentration above 0.1% by weight are required to submit and register information on these articles to ECHA via the SCIP database.

Lab Testing

Lab testing is necessary for the sake of verifying compliance with applicable standards and regulations. Testing protocols for bicycles can, for example, include the following:

  • Mechanical and physical properties testing
  • Chemicals and heavy metals testing
  • Battery testing
  • Electronics testing

Most major testing companies offer testing services relevant to bicycles in the EU. Here are some examples:

  • Intertek
  • SGS
  • TUV SUD
  • (USA & EU)

    We Help Brands & Importers With Product Compliance (US & EU)

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    Disclaimer: The content on this website is provided for general information only. The content includes summaries written by our team members based on publicly available information about product safety standards, labeling, documentation, testing, processes, and other product compliance related topics. However, we don’t guarantee that we cover every single relevant regulation/standard/requirement, or that the information is free from errors, or covering every single scenario and exemption. We do make mistakes from time to time. We never provide legal advice of any sort.

    Changes/Updates: Product standards and substance restrictions are subject to frequent updates and changes. In addition, new regulations, standards, and/or requirements may also become effective at any time. We don’t update our articles whenever new standards/regulations/rules are added or changed. We recommend that you consult a lab testing company or other professional to get the latest information about mandatory standards/regulations in your market, country, or state. Lab testing companies generally stay up to date on new and updated standards and regulations.

    National/State-Level Standards/Regulations: Many articles don't cover all European national and US state standards, regulations, and requirements. We recommend that you consult a testing company or other professional to confirm all relevant (and current) national/state level standards and regulations.
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