BMX not road legal

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Philip Benstead
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BMX not road legal

Post by Philip Benstead »

I was checking bicycles before a cycle ride event call Bike around the borough in Hackney.

A child turns up with a brand-new bike, it was BMX with only a rear brake, I told him they could not use that (we supplied them with the alternative bike for the ride) an adult present said cycle instructors should had advise child/parents that BMX with one brake is not road legal.

I have no idea who the cycle instructors were who to give poor advice, but it is very poor if CI do not know the law in this regard, and also IMHO it not acceptable for a bike shop to sell this type of cycle to persons who are going to ride on the road.
Philip Benstead | Life Member Former CTC Councillor/Trustee
Organizing events and representing cyclist in southeast since 1988
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Tigerbiten
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Re: BMX not road legal

Post by Tigerbiten »

If it was a child's bike then what was the maximum height of the saddle ??
Because the two-brake rule only applies to bikes where the saddle is 635mm or more above the ground (when the bike is upright, the saddle is raised to the fullest extent compatible with safety and the tyres are fully inflated).
A child’s bike where the saddle is lower than 635mm only needs one braking system (which can be on either wheel).
So if the saddle at max extension was under 635mm, roughly 25", then it was legal.

I know that part of the rules about brakes because the top of my recumbent seat is under that limit.

Luck .......... :D
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Philip Benstead
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Re: BMX not road legal

Post by Philip Benstead »

Tigerbiten wrote: 15 Jul 2022, 12:15pm If it was a child's bike then what was the maximum height of the saddle ??
Because the two-brake rule only applies to bikes where the saddle is 635mm or more above the ground (when the bike is upright, the saddle is raised to the fullest extent compatible with safety and the tyres are fully inflated).
A child’s bike where the saddle is lower than 635mm only needs one braking system (which can be on either wheel).
So if the saddle at max extension was under 635mm, roughly 25", then it was legal.

I know that part of the rules about brakes because the top of my recumbent seat is under that limit.

Luck .......... :D
If your were cycle instrcturer would take child out on the road with such a bike?
I did not measure the max saddle height. In future I will do so.
Philip Benstead | Life Member Former CTC Councillor/Trustee
Organizing events and representing cyclist in southeast since 1988
Bikeability Instructor/Mechanic
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Re: BMX not road legal

Post by Bonefishblues »

Tigerbiten wrote: 15 Jul 2022, 12:15pm If it was a child's bike then what was the maximum height of the saddle ??
Because the two-brake rule only applies to bikes where the saddle is 635mm or more above the ground (when the bike is upright, the saddle is raised to the fullest extent compatible with safety and the tyres are fully inflated).
A child’s bike where the saddle is lower than 635mm only needs one braking system (which can be on either wheel).
So if the saddle at max extension was under 635mm, roughly 25", then it was legal.

I know that part of the rules about brakes because the top of my recumbent seat is under that limit.

Luck .......... :D
Every day is an education :o
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Re: BMX not road legal

Post by Psamathe »

(Whilst I have no experience nor training as a ride leader or even going on lead rides)
I would see nothing wrong with a ride leader politely saying they did not consider a bike safe for a ride they were taking responsibility for, even if the bike was legal. e.g. I understand some rides require helmet wearing yet this goes beyond the law. I would assume the ride "small-print" says along the lines of bikes must be appropriate, serviceable and legal in the opinion of the ride leader ...

Even more the case where the rider is loaned a bike so can still do the ride.

Ian
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Re: BMX not road legal

Post by pjclinch »

Philip Benstead wrote: 15 Jul 2022, 12:22pm
Tigerbiten wrote: 15 Jul 2022, 12:15pm If it was a child's bike then what was the maximum height of the saddle ??
Because the two-brake rule only applies to bikes where the saddle is 635mm or more above the ground (when the bike is upright, the saddle is raised to the fullest extent compatible with safety and the tyres are fully inflated).
A child’s bike where the saddle is lower than 635mm only needs one braking system (which can be on either wheel).
So if the saddle at max extension was under 635mm, roughly 25", then it was legal.
If your were cycle instrcturer would take child out on the road with such a bike?
I did not measure the max saddle height. In future I will do so.
Bear in mind that it is entirely normal for a Dutch bike to have only one brake (typically a coaster brake). Now, I wouldn't want that for myself in Dundee with no shortage of long/steep hills, but there's plenty of places in the UK where it would frankly be a non-issue in the hands of someone riding within the bike's limits and in such a case I'd say it's maybe better to learn roadcraft with what you have rather than face having to exclude them (not everyone has a supply of spares they can use, and even if they do that's no use to the rider outside of the session). Having said that, there's a difference between learning, say, the basics of riding in straight lines and the technicalities of filtering in Weapons Grade traffic.

Road legality seems like an obvious place where you can be black and white, but it's not quite the case. Very few clipless pedals have reflectors so the bikes they're on are technically illegal after lighting up time, and this would include recumbents where even if you have them they face up/down and not front/rear, and in velomobiles where they're in a completely enclosed shell!
Also bear in mind that for brakes you should have two independent systems, so e.g. Dame Sarah Storey's bike (with both brakes activated from one lever) is technically illegal, and so are many specials built for other riders with an upper limb disability. Do we want to be inclusive, or do we want to stick rigidly to a law that isn't very aware of the realities of available bike configurations?

Now, if the bike was IMHO clearly unsafe/unsuitable to ride then absolutely it's a case of refusing them to be used in the session. And in all the courses I've taught or where I'm being taught that's been the case. In a case where, say, an omafiets with a coaster brake was the option for some flat/slow Level 2 I might let in in, but I would certainly make a point of advising the client that they ought to have another brake, and suggest some options of where to get it fitted.

Pete.
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Philip Benstead
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Re: BMX not road legal

Post by Philip Benstead »

pjclinch wrote: 15 Jul 2022, 1:33pm
Philip Benstead wrote: 15 Jul 2022, 12:22pm
Tigerbiten wrote: 15 Jul 2022, 12:15pm If it was a child's bike then what was the maximum height of the saddle ??
Because the two-brake rule only applies to bikes where the saddle is 635mm or more above the ground (when the bike is upright, the saddle is raised to the fullest extent compatible with safety and the tyres are fully inflated).
A child’s bike where the saddle is lower than 635mm only needs one braking system (which can be on either wheel).
So if the saddle at max extension was under 635mm, roughly 25", then it was legal.
If your were cycle instrcturer would take child out on the road with such a bike?
I did not measure the max saddle height. In future I will do so.
Bear in mind that it is entirely normal for a Dutch bike to have only one brake (typically a coaster brake). Now, I wouldn't want that for myself in Dundee with no shortage of long/steep hills, but there's plenty of places in the UK where it would frankly be a non-issue in the hands of someone riding within the bike's limits and in such a case I'd say it's maybe better to learn roadcraft with what you have rather than face having to exclude them (not everyone has a supply of spares they can use, and even if they do that's no use to the rider outside of the session). Having said that, there's a difference between learning, say, the basics of riding in straight lines and the technicalities of filtering in Weapons Grade traffic.

Road legality seems like an obvious place where you can be black and white, but it's not quite the case. Very few clipless pedals have reflectors so the bikes they're on are technically illegal after lighting up time, and this would include recumbents where even if you have them they face up/down and not front/rear, and in velomobiles where they're in a completely enclosed shell!
Also bear in mind that for brakes you should have two independent systems, so e.g. Dame Sarah Storey's bike (with both brakes activated from one lever) is technically illegal, and so are many specials built for other riders with an upper limb disability. Do we want to be inclusive, or do we want to stick rigidly to a law that isn't very aware of the realities of available bike configurations?

Now, if the bike was IMHO clearly unsafe/unsuitable to ride then absolutely it's a case of refusing them to be used in the session. And in all the courses I've taught or where I'm being taught that's been the case. In a case where, say, an omafiets with a coaster brake was the option for some flat/slow Level 2 I might let in in, but I would certainly make a point of advising the client that they ought to have another brake, and suggest some options of where to get it fitted.




Pete.
What would be the situration in terms of accident and insurance claim?
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Re: BMX not road legal

Post by Vorpal »

We used to give the school leaflets to send home with Bikeability students a couple of weeks beforehand with information about clothes, bike condition, etc. We also, if the school allowed & we had time, ran a Bike Dr. clinic the week before (my teaching partner was a certified bike mechanic).

BUT knowing what road legal is, and ensuring that bikes are road legal is *entirely* the parents' responsibility. The cycle instructors shouldn't need to tell them that a bike needs 2 sets of brakes to be legal.

We did have to tell kids sometimes that their bikes weren't suitable, and that included BMX bikes with only one set of brakes. I can only recall one instance where someone couldn't borrow something from the school, us, or another student, though.
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Re: BMX not road legal

Post by Vorpal »

Philip Benstead wrote: 15 Jul 2022, 1:53pm
pjclinch wrote: 15 Jul 2022, 1:33pm
Bear in mind that it is entirely normal for a Dutch bike to have only one brake (typically a coaster brake). Now, I wouldn't want that for myself in Dundee with no shortage of long/steep hills, but there's plenty of places in the UK where it would frankly be a non-issue in the hands of someone riding within the bike's limits and in such a case I'd say it's maybe better to learn roadcraft with what you have rather than face having to exclude them (not everyone has a supply of spares they can use, and even if they do that's no use to the rider outside of the session). Having said that, there's a difference between learning, say, the basics of riding in straight lines and the technicalities of filtering in Weapons Grade traffic.

Road legality seems like an obvious place where you can be black and white, but it's not quite the case. Very few clipless pedals have reflectors so the bikes they're on are technically illegal after lighting up time, and this would include recumbents where even if you have them they face up/down and not front/rear, and in velomobiles where they're in a completely enclosed shell!
Also bear in mind that for brakes you should have two independent systems, so e.g. Dame Sarah Storey's bike (with both brakes activated from one lever) is technically illegal, and so are many specials built for other riders with an upper limb disability. Do we want to be inclusive, or do we want to stick rigidly to a law that isn't very aware of the realities of available bike configurations?

Now, if the bike was IMHO clearly unsafe/unsuitable to ride then absolutely it's a case of refusing them to be used in the session. And in all the courses I've taught or where I'm being taught that's been the case. In a case where, say, an omafiets with a coaster brake was the option for some flat/slow Level 2 I might let in in, but I would certainly make a point of advising the client that they ought to have another brake, and suggest some options of where to get it fitted.

Pete.
What would be the situration in terms of accident and insurance claim?
The chances of it coming up are tiny, but it could be problematic if there were a serious crash.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
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Philip Benstead
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Re: BMX not road legal

Post by Philip Benstead »

Philip Benstead wrote: 15 Jul 2022, 1:53pm
pjclinch wrote: 15 Jul 2022, 1:33pm
Philip Benstead wrote: 15 Jul 2022, 12:22pm
If your were cycle instrcturer would take child out on the road with such a bike?
I did not measure the max saddle height. In future I will do so.
Bear in mind that it is entirely normal for a Dutch bike to have only one brake (typically a coaster brake). Now, I wouldn't want that for myself in Dundee with no shortage of long/steep hills, but there's plenty of places in the UK where it would frankly be a non-issue in the hands of someone riding within the bike's limits and in such a case I'd say it's maybe better to learn roadcraft with what you have rather than face having to exclude them (not everyone has a supply of spares they can use, and even if they do that's no use to the rider outside of the session). Having said that, there's a difference between learning, say, the basics of riding in straight lines and the technicalities of filtering in Weapons Grade traffic.

Road legality seems like an obvious place where you can be black and white, but it's not quite the case. Very few clipless pedals have reflectors so the bikes they're on are technically illegal after lighting up time, and this would include recumbents where even if you have them they face up/down and not front/rear, and in velomobiles where they're in a completely enclosed shell!
Also bear in mind that for brakes you should have two independent systems, so e.g. Dame Sarah Storey's bike (with both brakes activated from one lever) is technically illegal, and so are many specials built for other riders with an upper limb disability. Do we want to be inclusive, or do we want to stick rigidly to a law that isn't very aware of the realities of available bike configurations?

Now, if the bike was IMHO clearly unsafe/unsuitable to ride then absolutely it's a case of refusing them to be used in the session. And in all the courses I've taught or where I'm being taught that's been the case. In a case where, say, an omafiets with a coaster brake was the option for some flat/slow Level 2 I might let in in, but I would certainly make a point of advising the client that they ought to have another brake, and suggest some options of where to get it fitted.




Pete.
What would be the situration in terms of accident and insurance claim?
[/quot


Yes the Dutch bike have back pedal brake but work. Many kids bike are rusty and don't work well
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Philip Benstead
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Re: BMX not road legal

Post by Philip Benstead »

It should be remembered that even good new bikes are not lubricated. so if a bike is left outside in the garden even if coved will deteriorate quiclky. Even indoors if a bike is not used or lubricated it will have poor braking, particularly with those with weak hands eg children.
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Re: BMX not road legal

Post by pjclinch »

Brakes that don't work are not the issue raised. If a bike is considered dangerous (and unusable brakes is a red flag there) then it's not to be used, end of.
My point here is that "not technically legal" isn't necessarily the same thing as "unreasonably dangerous to use".

It would be entirely reasonable and proper for an instructor to say "I'm not happy with this being safe, it can't be used".
It would be entirely reasonable and proper for an instructor to say "this isn't legal, it can't be used".
It would also be entirely reasonable and proper for a delivery organisation to tell me as an instructor that the rules must be 100% followed to the letter: that I don't personally agree with Scottish LA stipulations that I must wear a crash helmet to instruct is why I'm not currently working for them.

But other cases aren't so clear cut; for example told that classes must wear hi-viz in playgrounds I queried it and the LA's Bikeability Scotland Co-ordinator agreed with me I could bend that one, though she didn't get the RA it came from changed. I also queried that I wasn't allowed to wear sandals, and again that was waved through.
Had a collision occurred in a playground session then someone looking to blame someone could have hauled us over the coals about no hi-viz. Both I and the LA co-ordinator were willing to take that risk because we both felt it was the case of the law being an ass and adding no significant danger that we weren't happy to take ownership of the risk for.

If I was instructing after sundown for a competent adult who showed up with a bike in excellent repair but clipless pedals with no reflectors I wouldn't cancel the session because their bike was illegal. I doubt I'm alone there (in fact it's quite likely there's a fair few instructors who's own bikes would fail a legality test on that!). With children I'd certainly seek to inform their carers and get their permission to proceed, but contingent on that I might proceed if I was otherwise convinced they were reasonably safe.

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Re: BMX not road legal

Post by pjclinch »

Back when I trained trainers I actually raised the multiple independent brakes as an example.

"Can we let illegal bikes in a session?"
Everyone says no.
"Dame Sarah Storey's bike is not technically legal. If she showed up and wanted to join in your session would you tell her that wouldn't be possible because her bike isn't legal?"
Everyone has an "oh... it's not quite black and white after all!" expression on their face.
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Re: BMX not road legal

Post by pjclinch »

A further point as to why one might consider allowing a not-technically-legal bike...

The point of instruction, for me, is to enable people to use bikes. If in all probability they're going to be using a bike whatever I say about its use in a Bikeability session then it's probably more in their overall safety interest to get used to using that bike, with its limitations, than to use some substitute that has very different braking characteristics.
By insisting on using the road-legal one for a training session that will arguably increase their chances of Bad Things happening when there isn't a safety net of structured classes delivered by people looking after them in carefully risk-assessed situations and they're riding their own, rather different bike. I might consider taking the risk of a greater (though still very small) chance of litigation to be a better risk than leaving them to their own devices on their own bike without having had any instruction on it.
As with education on teenage sex and alcohol consumption, taking a pragmatic approach that it will happen even if you'd rather it didn't is probably safer overall than pretending the rules properly reflect reality.

Will parents be okay with kids riding bikes with compromised braking? Absolutely, in some cases. Picking up mine after school and waiting for the bell to go on one occasion I noticed a bike that had been taken to school by a parent for their child to ride back with the front brake unhooked. I pointed that out, to be told that the parent had done it themselves, to stop the brake rubbing.

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Re: BMX not road legal

Post by foxyrider »

pjclinch wrote: 15 Jul 2022, 7:41pm Back when I trained trainers I actually raised the multiple independent brakes as an example.

"Can we let illegal bikes in a session?"
Everyone says no.
"Dame Sarah Storey's bike is not technically legal. If she showed up and wanted to join in your session would you tell her that wouldn't be possible because her bike isn't legal?"
Everyone has an "oh... it's not quite black and white after all!" expression on their face.
You do realise that the law does allow for 'adapted' bikes? So whilst DSS's bike may not meet the letter of the law it is allowed by dispensation.

And i'm sure you know that the whole pedal reflector thing is a red herring as it only applies to new cycles sold with pedals. I've never bought a bike other than my first 'racer' that came with pedals.
Convention? what's that then?
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