Sketchy bike imports

A number of regulations enforced by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission covers the sale of bicycles and related products in the United States. Sometimes, importers who fail to follow the rules (either knowingly or through ignorance) get their entire container load of imports seized at the border.

On this front, I see some interesting little tidbits in the latest issue of the CPSC Port Surveillance News. For example:

  • Lee Johnson Chevrolet / Mazda / Kia in Seattle tried importing a dozen bicycles from Korea that lacked U.S. requirements for reflectors, labeling, instructions and even the carton. The exporter is “Pino B&D,” which seems to specialize in branded products for Hyundai and Kia — things like branded ties, wallets, pens and other similar items. They also have this cute folding bike with a Kia headbadge to tie in with marketing for Kia’s “Soul” “urban crossover” vehicle.

    Kia Soul folding bicycle

    The CPSC rules aren’t that strenuous, but you do need to get them right if you want to legally sell them in the USA. In this product photo, for example, I can see none of the required reflectors are included on this bike. The CPSC requires front and rear facing reflectors, wheel reflectors, and reflectors on both front and back of the pedals.

    CPSC labeling requirements are even simpler. Bikes must come with an instruction manual. The carton must include a list of tools necessary for assembly, and a diagram illustrating the minimum leg length required for the enclosed bicycle. Bikes must include a label showing the manufacturer and a code the manufacturer can use to get the manufacturing date.

    The bicycle probably mostly meets the requirements for sale in the USA. I guess the lesson here: If you’re a car dealership importing bicycles from Asia, don’t trust the manufacturer when he tells you he’s followed U.S. safety and labeling regulations.

  • Some operation called “PJ’s Wholesale Inc” tried to import 200 bicycle helmets from Lianyungang Hongwen Trade Company LTD. The CPSC report says the helmet failed to meet U.S. labeling requirements.

    I’m always a little leery of cheap, no-brand helmets I see at discount importers. Buyer beware.

  • Finally, another sketchy importer specializing in cheap, no-name junk called “World Factory” was caught importing 25 “Rough Rider Tricycles” that exceeded Federal Hazardous Substances Act levels for lead in children’s products. Oops!