Cycling is a green and fitness-friendly way to get around, and you can save money by assembling the bicycle yourself. However, the experience can sour pretty quickly if you don't have a decent bike. Having busted a bunch of retailers for selling bikes that don't meet Australian safety standards, the ACCC is a useful (if perhaps unexpected) source of bike safety tips.Picture by Michael Spiller
In a survey of 311 bikes sold through 84 retailers nationally, the ACCC found 41 breaches of mandatory safety standards. Self-assembled bikes (the main choice of Lifehacker's editor, as it happens) were a particular problem area. Here's some of the key areas to check before you invest in that bargain bike and figure you can assemble it easily in the garage:
- All bikes sold in Australia must include protective guards, reflectors, brakes and some form of warning device (such as a horn or bell). If a bike or bike kit you see on sale doesn't include those, then don't purchase it.
- In the case of bicycles for children, there should be two braking systems (both pedal-based and cable-based, for instance).
- The same rules apply to unassembled bicycles, which must also be sold with clear and adequate instructions. If a boxed bike includes no instructions, doesn't have them in clear and adequate form (which likely implies they must be translated into English), or is missing those safety elements, it's illegal to sell and you're entitled to demand a refund.
- The ACCC recommends paying a bicycle mechanic to assemble your bike. Given what that might cost, it might make more sense to buy a bike pre-assembled if you're not confident in your own ability.
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