State legislators earlier this week approved a bill banning the sale of all bikes equipped with current quick release wheels and tabbed tips.Under the bill, it would be illegal to sell bicycles with quick release wheels unless they met performance specifications that are not commercially available. Assembly bill A2686, which was introduced in February 2006, passed in the assembly with a vote of 77-3 and is now headed to the SenateCommerce Committee. While originally drafted to ban quick release wheels on children's bikes,the bill was recently amended to include bikes with 20-inch or larger wheels. It also stipulates that the secondary retention device on a wheel meet certain specifications, including that it activate automatically and always prevent wheel separation.
"It's being promoted as a bill intended to protect children," said Bob Burns, Trek's legal counsel and spokesman for the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association. "But the language would make every bicycle with quick release currently for sale in New Jersey illegal. This bill is not intended just for children's bikes."Furthermore, Burns said there's currently no secondary retention device on the market that would comply with the bill. "No system always retains the wheel," he said. "Even the bolted axle, if the bolts aren't on right, the kid's in trouble. As of right now, there's nothing on the floor that meets this definition and nothing on the horizon that is commercially proven."
All of my bikes have quick-releases. Everyone's do. It makes changing a flat tire possible without having to carry around a freaking socket wrench. My brother who used to own a bicycle shop in New Jersey used to file off the "safety tabs" on the end of the drop-outs just so people could get their wheels on and off a little easier. Quick-releases work perfectly fine and the design of most bikes is such that even if the quick-release does open, the wheel is not going to fall off, especially not the back wheel. But, then again, we're dealing with New Jersey where all it takes is one irresponsible parent who let his kid ride his bike without first giving it a once-over to make sure it was in proper mechanical shape, and BAM! Lawsuit! And, being the ignorant mass of humanity that it is, the New Jersey government would rather concoct ridiculous laws that all but force-out the entire bicycle retail business from the state than take measured strides and pen a law that makes sense. Not that one is needed, mind you.
So, please forgive the rest of the entire cycling world New Jersey as we point and laugh in your general direction.
In other news, the bicycle component company Salsa, makers of fine titanium quick-release skewers, has reportedly just announced plans to open a retail kiosk in every major New Jersey mall.