Due to a very vague Harmonized Tariff Code assigned for import, balance bikes are designated as toys, allowing the toy industry to legally omit many safety features from their products. Raising awareness of these deficiencies and protecting consumers from injury are the main objectives of the Balance Bike Safety Alliance.
SAN DIEGO (PRWEB) NOVEMBER 28, 2018
In an unregulated niche industry such as balance bikes, there is much confusion among parents about the quality and safety standards which successfully protect children from harm. This is due to the large number of fake review sites which collect sales data from Amazon and represent the ten biggest volume selling brands and list them on a website, advising consumers that they are the "10 Best available". The majority of these Amazon Associates do not physically test or possess the products they recommend, and only engage for the purpose of referring sales to Amazon in order to collect a commission. The reality is that these inexpensive, lower quality balance bikes are popular due to low awareness of better alternatives and consumer sensitivity to cost. As a result, these best-selling products are falsely depicted as "the best available" and "safest", which deceives consumers and exposes their very young children to dangerous consequences.
Real bicycles that are imported as "Bicycles" must comply with certain bicycle safety testing protocols. This means that bicycles and their components must be designed and built to withstand hundreds of pounds of force in the testing lab, by their wheels, frames, forks and handlebars. Very few balance bikes undergo this testing, instead complying only with Toy safety testing protocols, such as the presence of heavy metals, phthalates, pinch points and choking hazards. Importing and testing products as toys, but marketing and selling them as "safest", "best" or “bikes” is deceptive to consumers and potentially dangerous to children due to incorrect expectations of intended use.
A small minority of balance bikes sold in the US are produced by bicycle brands with a strong awareness of the features necessary to safely protect the children who ride them. While no official testing methods are mandated for balance bikes, a certain collection of brands is voluntarily providing most or all of the safety features that normal bicycle safety testing requires, while also adhering to the minimal standards of toy safety testing. This alliance will unite the brands that have proven their dedication to providing the safest possible balance bikes to consumers, by utilizing all available safety features and distinguishing them as "Real Bikes, Not Toys". Examples include air filled rubber tires to provide good grip with riding surfaces, hand brakes to control speed or stop, and twin bearing headset components connecting the frame and fork to successfully endure the trauma transmitted from the wheels.
A partial list of founding members is scheduled to be published early in 2019. Additional balance bike brands that voluntarily adhere to most of the CPSC safety standards for real pedal bikes will also have opportunity to be appointed membership in the Balance Bike Safety Alliance. Their qualifying products will be distinguished with official certification that identifies them as such. This is intended to inform consumers of the differences between Bicycle industry balance bikes and the toy industry products which are incorrectly marketed as bikes.
About the Balance Bike Safety Alliance:
The Balance Bike Safety Alliance is a collection of real bicycle industry brands, interested in informing consumers of the the safety features omitted from competing toy industry products and to provide very young children a safe and successful first cycling experience.
A new website for the BBSA is in production and release is imminent.
Membership and certification inquiries are invited.