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Michigan State University

ME 491 Integrated Systems Design

Consumer Product Safety Commission

Bicycle Requirements Business Guidance

What is the purpose of the requirements for bicycles?

This regulation increases the safety of bicycles by establishing, among other things, requirements for assembly, braking, protrusions, structural integrity and reflectors. Bicycles that fail any of the requirements are banned under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act.

 

Where can I find the requirements for bicycles?

The requirements are in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) in Title 16, Part 1512.

 

What is a bicycle?

A bicycle is defined in §1512.2 as either (1) a two-wheeled vehicle having a rear drive wheel solely human-powered; or (2) a two- or three-wheeled vehicle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts (1 h.p.), whose maximum speed on a paved level surface, when powered solely by such a motor while ridden by an operator who weighs 170 pounds, is less than 20 mph.

The bicycle requirements cover two different types of bicycles. Those with a seat that is more than 25 inches above the ground when the seat is adjusted to its highest position must meet all of the requirements.  Sidewalk bicycles – those with a seat height of 25 inches or less – are exempt from some of the requirements or have other alternative requirements.  These exemptions and alternatives are marked in bold type in this summary. Please consult §1512.2 of the requirements for more information on how to measure seat height.

 

Are any bicycles exempt from the requirements?

Yes.  Track bicycles designed and intended for use in competition that have tubular tires, a single crank–towheel ratio, and no freewheeling feature are exempt. So are one-of-a-kind bicycles made to the order of an individual without assembling stock or production parts.

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