Mini or pocket motorcycles are fun and make great Christmas presents for your kids, but there are potential dangers in buying unknown brands.
In most countries, these machines are categorised as novelty toys and are not regulated by the same conditions as other vehicles. Also, be aware that, in many jurisdictions, they can only be used on private property.
In Australia, the importers are not members of the Federated Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) and their only control is through the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
FCAI motorcycle spokesman Rhys Griffiths says they don’t want to be involved with them or encourage their sale. “They are not made to any standard and therefore potentially dangerous,” he says.
This point is driven home by the ACCC’s recall of bikes (pictured above and below) sold by Global Ringwood.
The affected bikes have a front and rear cable operated braking system which requires manual adjustment and does not comply with Australian Standards – Competition & Consumer Act 2010 – Consumer Protection Notice No.24 of 2011.
Once the brake pads begin to wear, manual adjustment is required at the brake calipers. Failure to make proper adjustments could result in brake failure, potentially resulting in serious injury to the rider.
Owners are required to “immediately stop using the bike” until a hydraulic braking system has been fitted.
They should contact Global Ringwood at 3/23 Stennett Road Ingleburn NSW 2565 or by phone on 0425 428 777.
Mini bike recalls
It follows recalls of other mini bikes for kids and is a warning to parents at this time of the year to check Christmas presents are safe.
Earlier this year Mirza Miniature road and dirt style motorbikes, sold in Victoria by Domeit Pty Ltd, were deemed “unsafe” and refunds were offered. And in 2014, the Big Aussie Deals 49cc petrol-powered 2013 Petersea PB201 “Pocket Motorbike” was recalled for non-conformity in the brakes, footpegs and steering.
Rhys said at the time that many pocket motorcycles are bought by parents as a cheap way to introduce their children to motorcycles. However, he says it is safer to buy an approved mini bike from a respected manufacturer through an authorised dealer. “Many motorcycle manufacturers have mini bikes with good build quality, a warranty and a dealer network for back-up,” he says.
“In contrast, at the point of distribution of pocket motorcycles, there is very little salesmanship in terms of looking after the customer and advising whether it is the right product them, any training, safety advice about protective clothing etc,” he says. “A lot are being sold in supermarkets and no one is looking after the customer, or sold over the internet with no customer contact. Shopping on the internet is great until such time as you need some back-up.”
Rhys says he would like to see pocket motorcycles better regulated and doesn’t believe the ACCC has the necessary resources to control importers. “The laws simply haven’t kept pace with this type of product coming on the market,” he says. “Even mobility scooters are a problem. You see them careening down the footpath and they are now being involved in accidents.”
Your legal rights on recalls
If you believe there is an endemic problem with your bike that should be recalled, contact the ACCC on 1300 302 502.
To check whether your motorcycle has been recalled, click on these sites: