In the News: Wheels coming off in Legislature with bike law

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In the News: Wheels coming off in Legislature with bike law

Postby mergs » Wed Jul 25, 2007 9:57 am

Wheels coming off in Legislature with bike law
Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 07/24/07


Years ago, our state government leadership — in its sage decision-making and dogged pursuit of public safety — enacted a law that was to have forever protected the New Jersey breakfast eating public from the scourge of disease by banning the serving of eggs prepared in any way other than fully cooked. Folks at the time thought, "Well, why would you serve anything but a fully cooked egg?"

Legislators, doing what they do best, passed the law and patted themselves on the back saying, "We protected the people from themselves again."

Yet within two weeks of the "sunnyside up" egg ban, the public hue and cry was heard far and wide. Within a month or so, the law was repealed. As it turned out, the "research" behind the egg law had been so lax that no one could cite an example of anyone becoming sick from a partially cooked egg.

Let me show the analogy between eggs and bicycles.

Lots of folks have bicycles. You probably had one when you were growing up. Today's bicycles, which have at least 24-inch diameter wheels, will sometimes use a wheel retention device called a quick-release. You'll recognize it as the short lever that is attached at the wheel axle. This is usually considered a desirable feature on better bicycles, because it allows the rider to remove the wheels for needs such as transporting the bicycle and repairing a flat tire easily.

The current federal design requirements of the quick-release hub dictate that even if you mistakenly leave the lever in the open position after having closed it, the wheel must not come off the bike.

This is called a secondary wheel retention system. If you are an experienced cyclist, you may refer to them as fork drop-out tabs. In other words, bicycles built for sale in the United States and many other countries with quick-release hubs are required to have primary- and secondary wheel-retention systems.

In spite of this, Assemblyman Paul D. Moriarty, D-Camden, submitted a bill to ban quick-release hubs on all bicycles sold in New Jersey. He introduced this bill to protect children from the possible loss of a front wheel because of missed installation of a quick release by a bicycle mechanic at a mass retailer or by the consumer who did not read the owner's manual.

In the original concept of his bill, this ban was to have applied only to children's bicycles. With no specific definition as to what a children's bike was, and with a zero injury record of New Jersey children hurt or killed by a quick-release failure, he forged ahead.

After negotiations with the National Bicycle Products Supplier Association, a compromise was reached, defining children's bikes as having a 20-inch wheel diameter or smaller. This wheel-size definition failed to take into account the fact that 12-inch to 20-inch wheels are used widely on many alternative bicycle-related products, such as recumbents, trailers and even special-need wheelchairs.

Why would that matter? Moriarty stated on the front of his bill it applied to children's bicycles. But he buried an amendment in the language of the bill that banned all quick releases on all bicycles.

The origins of this regulation began with a lawsuit in Marin County, Calif., against Wal-Mart for not properly explaining quick-release wheel hubs to their customers, and for failing to hand out the bicycle owner's manual with each bike sold. Professional, independent bicycle retailers base their business on thorough education of their customer. Although not required to demonstrate the quick release to their customers, most do.

Independent bicycle dealers already follow the rules. Thanks to a partnership between the American bicycle industry and the federal requirements for new bicycle construction, the product is safe and even more reliable than before.

New Jersey legislators need to be more careful in their selection of "dangers to society." Quick release bike wheel hubs, like eggs, pose little or no harm to the New Jersey public if handled reasonably well. More children are hurt each year by food issues including allergies than have ever been hurt by quick release hubs.

The independent bicycle retailer practices proper education on quick-release use, as well as other bicycle systems. The state Division of Consumer Affairs should take steps to ensure mass merchants correctly assemble bicycles using trained assemblers. They should ensure that these stores diligently educate the bicycle buyer on the proper use of bicycle systems and inspect the use of correct materials.

The Legislature needs to defeat this bill and allow the existing federal and state agencies to continue to do their job. If this partially "cooked" legislation is allowed to pass, legislators will emerge with egg on their faces.

Wally Tunison is the government liaison for the Jersey Off Road Bicycle Association. He owns The Bicycle Hub of Marlboro.

source: ... 40326/1030
Last edited by mergs on Wed May 21, 2008 9:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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UPDATE 7/31/07

Postby NMBPmike » Tue Jul 31, 2007 7:20 am

This is an update from Assemblywoman Jennifer Beck.



From: "Beck, Asw. D.O." <AswBeck>
Subject: RE: Bill A 2686-please vote no
Date: Fri, 13 Jul 2007 16:21:01 +0000

Dear Friend:

Thank you for your email regarding A-2686, which prohibits the sale of
certain bicycles with automatic quick release devices.

I, like the great majority of my colleagues, voted in favor of this
legislation due in large part to the ambiguous language of the bill.
Since then, I have been approached by several independent bike dealers
who have explained their misgivings with the legislation. After
speaking in length on the issue, I made contact with the sponsor of the
identical Senate bill S-2837, Senator Loretta Weinberg, and asked her to
amend the legislation to take into account the interests of those most
effected, the independent bike dealers. I sent a similar letter to
Senator Nia Gill.

I hope that by the addition of these amendments to this legislation will
be made more fair and effective. If you have any further questions or
comments, please feel free to email or call my office at (732) 772-1571.
Thank you again for expressing your concerns with this measure.

Assemblywoman Jennifer Beck
12th Legislative District
Mike Flatley
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******* UPDATE ***** 8/6/07

Postby NMBPmike » Mon Aug 06, 2007 11:14 am

This is from
Assemblyman Samuel D. Thompson, Ph.D. Regarding the QR Issue. It looks like the only one who can remove the bill or try to have it parlayed is Committee Chair, Senator Nia Gill.

See response email below.


From: Assemblyman Sam Thompson, R., District 13 []
Sent: Monday, August 06, 2007 11:17 AM
Subject: Response DO NOT PASS BILL A2686

Dear Mr. Flatley:

Thank you for your e-mail expressing your oppostition to A2686. Unfortunately, this bill was passed by the Assembly in June. It is now in the Senate Commerce Committee. You may wish to contact the Committee Chair, Senator Nia Gill, to express your opposition and to request she not schedule the bill for consideration. Senator Gill can be contacted at,

425 Bloomfield Avenue
Montclair, NJ 07042-3538

If I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact my office.


Assemblyman Samuel D. Thompson, Ph.D.
13th Legislative District
Mike Flatley
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Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2005 10:04 am

****** UPDATE 8/8/07 ****

Postby NMBPmike » Wed Aug 08, 2007 12:19 pm




-----Original Message-----
From: Voss, Asw. D.O. []
Sent: Wednesday, August 08, 2007 3:14 PM
To: Michael Flatley

Dear Michael,

Please see attached letter. :arrow: (READ BELOW)


Reisetta Dunn
Assistant Chief of Staff
Constituent Liasion

Dr. Joan M. Voss
Assemblywoman - 38th District
520 Main Street
Suite 300
Fort Lee, NJ 07024
201-346-6400 M
201-346-5385 F

Thank you for your email concerning bill #A2686/S2837 which prohibits the sale of certain bicycles with quick release wheels. A2686 has already been voted and was passed on June 11, 2007. However the senate version S2837 is still being put through the necessary committees and being amended.

In our office we had an overwhelming correspondence from bicycle dealers, touring organizations, constituents and avid riders with the same concerns you have expressed. We are watching to make sure that the necessary changes are made before the bill gets voted on.

I know from previous discussions in our office that the Assemblywoman has reached out to Senator Loretta Weinberg to have the bill amended. As of this date we have not heard any updates from her office. When the bill was reintroduced it was misprinted. The bill is intended for only children’s bicycles as well as special adult bikes. I recommend you contact Senator’s Weinberg office and express your concerns about this specific piece of legislation.

If you would like to follow or be informed on when this bill or any other bills that travel through the legislature there is an easy way of doing that. This is called a bill subscription service, here is the link: ... nLogin.asp.
Follow the guidelines and when the bill gets posted in a committee or for a vote it will send you an alert. At that time you may contact any or all state representatives to support/oppose that specific legislation and address any other important issues. Thank you again for you concerns for they afford the assemblywoman what issues are important to you.


Reisetta Dunn
Assistant Chief of Staff
Constituent Liaison
Mike Flatley
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Posts: 94
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2005 10:04 am

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