Bicycle Safety Standards and Regulations in the US: An Overview

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Bicycle Regulations United States

Bicycles are subject to various regulations and safety standards in the United States. In this guide, we cover the FHSA, CPSIA, ATSM standards, and other US compliance requirements applicable to bikes.

Further, this guide covers regulations for adult and children’s bicycles, but it doesn’t cover specific regulations for stationary gym bikes and e-bikes.

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16 CFR Part 1512 – Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA) Regulations

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) aims to make sure that consumer products meet relevant safety requirements (for assembly, structural integrity, braking, and so on) before they are imported or sold in the US.

16 CFR Part 1512 covers safety requirements for bicycles and their components, which – upon failure to meet its requirements – may be banned from the US market, under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA).

Product Scope

As explained in this guidance document, 16 CFR Part 1512 defines a bicycle as either:

a. A human-powered, two-wheeled, rear-drive-wheeled, vehicle; or

b. A motorized, pedaled, single horse-powered, 2-3 wheeled vehicle that does not exceed a maximum of 20 mph when ridden on a flat and paved surface by a user who does not exceed 170 pounds

Additionally, the bicycle requirements cover the following types of products:

  • Bicycles with a saddle height exceeding 25 inches
  • Sidewalk bicycles with a saddle height of less than 25 inches

The following products are exempted:

  • Track bicycles designed for competition with a single crank-to-wheel ratio and tubular tires
  • Custom-made bicycles (without stock parts)

Safety Requirements

In order to comply with 16 CFR Part 1512, bicycles must meet different requirements, including:

  • Mechanical requirements
  • Braking system requirements
  • Steering system requirements
  • Pedal requirements
  • Drive chain and protective guards requirements
  • Tires and wheels requirements
  • Fork, frame, and seat requirements
  • Reflector requirements

General Certificate of Conformity (GCC)

Drafting a General Certificate of Conformity (GCC) is of paramount priority for importers and manufacturers wishing to comply with the CPSC requirements.

The CPSC provides a list of products for which is necessary to draft a GCC before the product can be sold in the US. This list includes bicycles that fall under the scope of 16 CFR Part 1512.

GCC Overview

A GCC must include elements such as the following:

1. Product information

2. List of product safety regulations for which the product is being certified (e.g. 16 CFR Part 1512)

3. Information – regarding the importer or manufacturer – certifying product compliance

4. Contact details of the person responsible for keeping test results on hand

5. Where and when the product was manufactured

6. Where and when compliance tests were carried out

7. Information regarding third-party testing labs

Labeling and Instructions Requirements

Importers and manufacturers of bicycles must provide an instruction manual and either attach it to the bicycle frame or include it with the packaging. Listed below are several requirements related to a bicycle’s instructions and labeling, as found in 16 CFR Part 1512.19.

The instruction manual should include at least the following:

a. Safety instructions that describe how brakes and gear work, warnings related to wet streets or limited visibility at night, and more

b. Information on how to assemble the bicycle

c. Instructions on how to properly maintain a bicycle’s brakes, control cables, and more

Bicycles should also include a permanently affixed traceability label stating information about the manufacturer and where and when the bicycle was manufactured.

Testing Procedures

Below we list several test procedures that must be carried out to ensure that a bicycle is safe for consumers to use. The full list of tests and test procedures, and their relevant details, can be found in 16 CFR Part 1512.18.

  • Sharp edge test
  • Protective cap and end-mounted devices test
  • Footbrake force and performance test
  • Handlebar stem test
  • Pedal slip test
  • Fork and frame test
  • Reflector mount and alignment test

CPSIA: Children’s Bicycles

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) regulates the manufacturing, importation, and distribution of products, including bicycles, intended for use by children up to 12 years of age.

The CPSIA requires that a product intended for use by children must be safe for them to use, including a test report proving compliance, a Children’s Product Certificate, and a traceability label with relevant details about the importer or manufacturer.

Product Scope

The CPSIA generally covers products used by children aged 12 years and below. According to 16 CFR Part 1200.2, bicycles that are designed for, and manufactured to fit children aged 12 years and below are considered to be “children’s products” and are therefore under the scope of CPSIA.

Safety Standards

Here are some examples of safety standards that might apply to children’s bicycles:

a. 16 CFR Part 1512 – Requirements for Bicycles

b. ​​16 CFR Part 1303 – Ban of Lead-Containing Paint and Certain Consumer Products Bearing Lead-Containing Paint

c. 16 CFR Part 1500.87 – Children’s products containing lead

d. 16 CFR Part 1501 – Small Parts

CPSIA Requirements

In general, CPSIA requires that products meant for use by children must:

a. Comply with the relevant children’s product safety regulations

b. Pass a compliance test by a CPSC-accredited lab (unless subject to an exception) that results in a valid test report

c. Include a written Children’s Product Certificate stating that the product is compliant with relevant standards

d. Include a permanent tracking label on the product and its packaging wherever it is practical to do so

ASTM Standards for Bicycles

Although complying with the ASTM standards is often voluntary, doing so can help to demonstrate knowledge about the safety of bicycles, their accessories, and their components. Here are some examples of ASTM standards relevant for bicycles:

a. ASTM F1975-02, Standard Specification for Non-powered Bicycle Trailers Designed for Human Passengers

b. ASTM F2043-00, Standard Classification for Bicycle Usage

c. ASTM F2273-03, Standard Test Methods for Bicycle Forks

d. ASTM F2274-03, Standard Specification for Condition 3 Bicycle Forks

e. ASTM F2711-19, Standard Test Methods for Bicycle Frames

f. ASTM F2802-19, Standard Specification for Condition 1 Bicycle Frames

g. ASTM F1625-00, Standard Specification and Test Method for Rear-Mounted Bicycle Child Carriers

Bike Electronics

It is common for cyclists to have electronic components on their bicycles. These components, such as bicycle lights, speedometers, indicator lights, and so on, might be subject to additional regulations and standards, such as FCC Part 15 and UL Standards.

FCC Part 15

FCC Part 15 regulates electromagnetic interference in electronics, including components and products such as bicycle lights. These products are classified either as intentional radiators or unintentional radiators.

Unintentional radiators

Unintentional radiators are electronics that emit radiofrequency signals  – but are not intended to emit radiofrequency energy wirelessly. These must be authorized via the Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity (SDoC) procedure.

Here are some examples of unintentional radiators that are relevant for bicycles:

  • Bicycle lights
  • Bicycle chronometers

Intentional radiators

Intentional radiators are electronics that were manufactured to emit radiofrequency energy via induction or radiation – including Bluetooth speakers, smartphones, and more. Intentional radiators must be authorized via the certification procedure.

Here are some examples of intentional radiators that might be used in bicycles:

  • Bluetooth speedometers
  • Bluetooth hearth monitors

Requirements

In order to comply with FCC Part 15, importers and manufacturers must provide information such as:

  • Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity (SDoC) – for unintentional radiators
  • Certification – for intentional radiators
  • Tracking label
  • FCC ID – for intentional radiators

UL Standards

Though compliance with UL standards is voluntary, complying helps to assess the safety of a product or component, especially when no other standards apply.

Listed below are examples of standards relevant to the safety requirements of bike components:

  • UL S8001 – Flashlight Performance
  • UL 1642 – Lithium Batteries
  • UL 94 – Flammability Standard of Plastic Materials for Parts in Devices and Appliances

Amazon Requirements for Bicycles

Sellers listing their products on Amazon are required to abide by federal and state regulations, as well as Amazon’s policies regarding the aforementioned products and product listings.

Amazon also requires sellers to make sure their products comply with 16 CFR Part 1512 if they’re listing adult bicycles, and CPSIA if they’re listing children’s bicycles.

Failure to both provide relevant information by the applicable deadline and comply with relevant requirements might result in products being removed from Amazon, or other punitive actions.

Lab Testing

Importers and manufacturers of bicycles might need to contact a lab in order to perform the relevant laboratory testing and ensure that their products comply with the relevant standards and requirements.

Below we list companies that offer lab testing services for bicycles against relevant regulations and standards, such as 16 CFR Part 1512:

  • TÜV SÜD
  • SGS
  • ACT Lab
  • Intertek
  • (USA & EU)

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

    • Product Requirements Lists
    • Product Certification
    • Product & Packaging Labeling
    • Lab Testing

    BOOK A FREE CONSULTATION


    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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