What is the product safety standard for bicycles?

The Product Safety Standards (Pedal Bicycle) Regulations 2000 (Regulations) sets the safety standard AS/NZS 1927:1998 Pedal bicycles – Safety requirements with amendments as the official product safety standard that suppliers of most new bicycles supplied in New Zealand must comply with.

What bicycles are covered?

A bicycle is defined in the Regulations as a two-wheel pedal vehicle propelled by human effort only and not by an engine.

Most types of new bicycles are covered by the product safety standard provided they have a wheelbase of 640mm or greater. This includes most children's bicycles. The bicycle's wheelbase is measured by the horizontal distance between the centre of the front and back axles. Bicycles that are partially assembled or sub-assembled are also covered.

The following types of bicycles are excluded:

  • bicycles with a wheelbase shorter than 640mm
  • second-hand bicycles
  • custom-made bicycles which are designed or made to order for an individual
  • engine-powered bicycles
  • recumbent bicycles, being bicycles where the rider is place in a laid-back reclining position.
  • some bicycles designed and intended to be used for competitions – these bikes must have a single crank-to-wheel ratio and no free-wheeling feature between the pedal and rear wheel.

Who do the rules apply to?

If you supply, offer to supply or advertise to supply new bicycles, you must comply with the product safety standard. This applies to retailers, importers, distributors, and manufacturers.

This includes bicycles sold:

  • in a shop
  • at a market
  • online.

Offering new bicycles for lease or as give-aways is also considered an "offer to supply".

What are the rules?

Bicycles must meet design and performance requirements to ensure they are safe and roadworthy. There are tests which have to be carried out to determine that a bicycle meets those requirements

Design requirements

Bicycles must meet design requirements relating to:

  • sharp edges
  • wheels
  • projections
  • control cables
  • ground and toe clearance
  • fasteners used to attach or secure components
  • protective guards
  • the drive chain
  • pedals
  • the steering system
  • the seat pillar
  • brakes
  • reflectors and lighting equipment.

Performance requirements

Bicycles must meet performance requirements relating to:

  • assembly instructions
  • roadworthiness
  • seat clamp strengths
  • steering stability
  • braking.

Marking and warning labelling requirements

There are a number of marking and warning labelling requirements set out in the product safety standard. All labels must be clear and legible.

Owner's manual

An owner's manual must be attached to every bicycle sold. The manual must include instructions for assembly, use, maintenance and repair.

For a partially assembled bicycle, the owner’s manual must be placed in the consumer package and in addition to information about use, maintenance and repair it must include simple, clear and adequate instructions for assembling the bicycle.

Who is responsible for making sure the bicycles I supply are safe?

It is your responsibility to ensure the bicycles you supply are safe. You should not assume that a bicycle complies with the product safety standard simply because a supplier has offered to supply it to you. If you have any concern about the safety of the bicycles you have for sale, do not sell them.

Confirm first with your supplier that the bicycles comply with the product safety standard. The best way to prove this is for your supplier to provide you with a copy of independent test results. You can also arrange your own testing.

If you sell a non-compliant bicycle, you could put the rider at risk of an accident. You will also have breached the Fair Trading Act. It is an offence under section 30 of that Act to supply, offer to supply or advertise to supply bicycles that do not comply with the product safety standard.

We enforce the Fair Trading Act, and may take a prosecution against you in Court if you breach the standard. Companies can be fined up to $600,000 for each breach of the Act. Individuals can be fined up to $200,000.

You may also have to conduct a recall of any bicycles that you supply which do not comply with the product safety standard. Information on carrying out a product recall is available from the Consumer Protection website.

Read more about selling bicycles, or go to the Standards New Zealand website to buy the standard.

Who sets the product safety standards?

The product safety standards are set by Standards NZ or equivalent overseas agencies. You can purchase a copy of any of the current standard AS/NZS 1927:1998 Pedal bicycles – Safety requirements from Standards New Zealand by calling 0800 782 632 or visit www.standards.govt.nz.

You can access the Regulations and the Fair Trading Act online at the government’s legislation website www.legislation.govt.nz. The information on this website is free.