Brussels, 10th July 2006
The European Commission has today written to Member States inviting them to take action to prevent serious accidents involving mini-motorbikes. In the last few months, the Commission has received 10 notifications from Member States concerning mini-motorbikes in the “Rapid Alert System” of the General Product Safety Directive (RAPEX). These bikes do not meet the required safety standards and are considered extremely dangerous to operate, while several fatal accidents have been recently reported.
Commissioner Markos Kyprianou, responsible for health and consumer protection policies, said: “The increasing numbers of inexpensive mini-motorbikes on the EU market is an extremely worrying development. These bikes are designed to appeal to youngsters through their small size and speed, but they are not toys and can kill. As a matter of urgency, I urge Member States to alert consumers to the dangers of these mini-motorbikes, increase testing and ensure the withdrawal of unsafe products.. Vice-president Günter Verheugen, responsible for enterprise and industry policies, added: “We are concerned about the increasing number of accidents involving low quality copies of racing motorbikes with internal combustion engines Cooperation of the Member States and the Commission is vital for the safety of consumers and Europe’s credibility”.
In light of the reported accidents and the serious risks for consumers, the Commission has written to Member States inviting them to urgently take all necessary measures to protect the safety of consumers, such as:
In particular, the Commission has asked Member States to conduct a market surveillance concerning mini-motorbikes and report the outcome to the Commission and to the other Member States by the end of December 2006. A summary of these reports will be presented to the Administrative Cooperation Group for the Machinery Directive and to the General Product Safety Directive Committee.
The Commission has asked the Member States who have already investigated the market for mini-motorbikes to provide information on the main defects and non-conformities they have observed. The Commission will make a summary of this information available to the Member States as soon as it is available.
In recent months, the Commission has been alerted to the increasing numbers of inexpensive mini-motorbikes being imported into the European market. These products are reduced-scale copies of normal motorbikes with internal combustion engines. Several Member States have reported serious or even fatal accidents involving such products and have detected major design and construction defects. Moreover, these products are often used on public roads despite the fact that such use is not permitted.
The Commission does not consider these products to be toys, since they are not designed or intended for use by children under 14 years of age. Nor do they fall under the EU legislation relating to the type-approval of two or three wheel motor vehicles.
Mini-motorbikes are therefore within the scope, and are subject to the health
and safety requirements and conformity assessment procedures of EU legislation
on machinery (Directive 98/37/EC) as well as the legislation on electromagnetic
compatibility (Directive 2004/108/CE). In addition, since mini-motorbikes are
products intended for consumers, certain provisions of the Community legislation
on general product safety may be used (Directive 2001/95/EC).