Is CPSC (or BPSC in Japan) good for bicyclists?

Discussion in 'rec.bicycles.soc archive' started by Jiten Norio, Mar 4, 2003.

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  1. Jiten Norio

    Jiten Norio Guest

    Following is a long explanation about the background. You can skip to ************THE
    QUESTIONS.**************** line.

    Recently, METI (Japanese ministry of economy, trade, and industry), a major group of Japanese
    bicycle industries, and representatives of Japanese bicycle society (called Rin-kai) presented a
    plan to apply Product Safety Consumer (PSC) act to bicycles. According to the plan, a PSC sticker
    will be put on a bicycle which passed the new PSC regulation, and one can't sell a bicycle without
    the sticker.

    I will call this plan BPSC.

    In an anonymous bulletin board on the net a few people including me are objecting BPSC because of
    the following reasons.

    1. Current Japanese PSC act explicitly precludes "traffic vehicles" from its target. Traffic
    vehicles are defined in the Japanese Traffic Vehicle Law, and a bicycle is a traffic vehicle by
    the law. Therefore, to apply PSC act to bicycles, it is necessary to change the PSC act and
    redefine **bicycle as non-vehicle** within
    it. I can't believe it is a good thing.

    2. There are other regulations that already have been applied to bicycles, such as traffic vehicle
    standards (which covers lights, brakes, reflectors, etc.) and JIS (i.e. Japanese Industrial
    Standard that covers fork strength, reflectors, and so on). BPSC will be redundant and will make
    bad confusion. It is better to integrate the bicycle regulation under the control of Japanese
    Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Traffic, not under METI.

    3. The followers of the BPSC argue as the following: "Because of the recent increase of crude and
    cheep utility bicycles (mainly imported from Mainland China), safety of Japanese bicycle
    consumers is threatened enormously. It is necessary to have a regulation which invalidate selling
    such craps. BPSC is necessary" Although I STRONGLY dislike crappy bicycles (no matter where they
    came from), there is little evidence that cheap utility bicycles sold in Japan cause more
    accidents compared to the other kind of bicycles. Of course, I will (and every cyclist should)
    support the efforts to improve the standards of the bicycle, and propagate the correct
    information that decent bikes (not cheap ones) have the value for money, but not by means BPSC. I
    will add that, according to several sources, cheap folding bikes sold in Japan seem to have
    miserable safety records, there should be some kind of additional standards and/or regulation on
    folding bikes sold in Japan.

    4. BPSC requires a bicycle should be a finished product before putting the PSC sticker on it. The
    sticker should be put by the maker of the bicycle. Hence, it makes customization of a bicycle at
    a shop rather difficult (e.g. You can't put a PSC sticker on a bicycle equipped with custom
    wheels at a shop). It is widely believed among the followers of the BPSC, to avoid the problem,
    Japanese bicycle industries presented a draft which distinguish 'utility' bikes (so called
    mama-chari) and 'sports' bikes (MTB, ROAD etc.), and limit the BPSC application only to
    mama-charis. Some 'sports' bike users seem to be satisfied with this widely spread rumor. My
    opinions on the matter are,
    a) First, bicycles will become non-vehicle (see point 1), then, utility bikes and sports bikes
    will be treated separately by the law, what a discriminative hierarchy!
    b) In many cases it is impossible to distinguish 'sports' bikes and 'utility' ones, how you can?
    c) Don't mamacharis need customization at a shop?
    d) Do you believe in a rumor?

    There should be many other arguments such as on education or maintenances, but not yet done.

    In response to our objections, a BPSC follower argued as the following.

    "According to the (Japanese reference site of) http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/success/bikes.html
    CPSC regulations in US reduce deaths in bicycle accidents by 25%. No matter what the MINER
    discomforts, we will strongly support the BPSC for the purpose of reducing cyclist's death."

    I responded:
    e) According to the many articles found on the web (such as written by John Forester), the CPSC's
    statement is doubtful.
    f) Virtually, all utility bicycles operated in Japan were already equipped with rear reflector and
    a set of pedal reflectors, the CPSC reflector argument is irrelevant to the Japanese bicycle.

    The final answer from one of the BPSC supporting people was "You are an all-or-nothing perfectionist
    without your own opinion. You are a net-junky. BPSC is already on the way because 'Rin-kai' supports
    it. We will support the BPSC for better safety and future of bicycle consumers!"

    I can't understand why I was called as above.

    Sorry for being so long. Then my questions are,

    ************THE QUESTIONS.**************** Do CPSC regulations on bicycle any good for US people? Is
    there any objective evidence that the CPSC regulations (including and/or other than the reflector
    regulation) reduce the number of accidents?
    ******************************************

    As I wrote above, I know classic arguments such as John Forester's one (google search is handy). So
    please refrain from the unnecessary repetitions if possible. Analysis of the article on the CPSC
    site is welcome. I will appreciate positive opinions about CPSC regulations (criticisms are welcome,
    of course).

    Finally, I must apologize that I don't use my real name for this post. As in the middle of the
    discussion on the Japanese bulletin board, someone repetitively wrote to me "You should LITTERARY
    DIE". I've got a little nervous.

    FYI, above-mentioned discussion had been carried out at
    http://sports.2ch.net/test/read.cgi/bicycle/1045231826/ Unfortunately, due to the **** bulletin
    board system, you cannot read them (past discussion) unless you register (and pay fee) to the
    system. I have a full (Japanese) text (about 250KB) of the discussion at hand and can send it by
    E-mail by request (my account is E-mail reachable).

    Jitensha Norio (not a real name), a Japanese cyclist. Had been identified as No. 73 on the
    above-mentioned board.
     
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  2. Baka Dasai

    Baka Dasai Guest

    On 4 Mar 2003 02:08:03 -0800, Jiten Norio said (and I quote):
    > Following is a long explanation about the background.

    -big snip-

    Thanks for this. As a cyclist in Japan I find it very interesting.

    Just to add some context for people who are unfamilar with the daily reality of cycling in Japan:

    Firstly, cycling in Japan is very common - far more common than in the the US or Europe. Bicycles
    are everywhere.

    Secondly, the vast majority (I'd estimate over 95%) of bicycles are mama-charis (or "shopping bikes"
    in my lingo). These are single (or 3) speed clunkers with a ridiculously low seat, and very high
    handlebars, that are rarely ridden at more than 15 kmh (9 mph), and usually no more than 10 kmh (6
    mph). People rarely ride for distances longer than 1 km, or maybe 2 km at the most. My commute is 5
    km, and everybody is totally shocked that somebody would ride a bike that far.

    Thirdly, Japanese cyclists mostly ride on the sidewalk, but are not averse to switching to the road
    when it suits them. However the basic model is "pedestrian" rather than "vehicular". I always ride
    on the road, and the reaction from drivers is often a jaw-dropping confusion at seeing something
    that makes absolutely no sense to them.

    So I can understand the bureaucracy's confusion about whether a bicycle is a vehicle, and their
    attempt to differentiate between the "utility" riders (I'd call them "pedestrian" riders) and the
    "sport" riders (I'd call these ones the "vehicular" riders). But I totally agree with you that the
    proposed plan is bad idea.

    I've only been in Japan for 3 years, but the impression I get is that the strong bicycle culture is
    dying a fairly rapid death. I live in a town of 40,000 people, and I can see that the inner centre
    of the town is dying, while the outer districts, serviced by big roads, and lined with shops with
    large car parks, are thriving. Those inner districts are car-hostile, but bike- friendly, and this
    was obviously the successful model of development in the (not so distant) past. But today all the
    action is on the car-friendly edges of town.

    As for the demographics of cyclists here, it seems to be over- represented by kids (who are too
    young to drive), and very old people (who probably never learnt to drive). While there are still
    quite a few people aged in the middle, it seems as if the adult core of the cycling population is
    being lost to the car.
    --
    Baka Dasai I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
     
  3. You may have heard John Forester's comments about the US CPSC and his dealings with it. It might
    also be worth reading, Ross D. Petty, "Regulation vs. the Market: The Case of Bicycle Safety" parts
    1 and 2. I'm not sure where it was originally published, but I found it on the web, at
    <http://www.fplc.edu/RISK/vol2/winter/petty1.htm> which sounds like a journal called "Risk".

    The article is very useful for giving a broad background. It also talks about helmets.

    The article concludes, "Today, twelve years after the CPSC rule became effective, there is little
    evidence that it has significantly reduced injuries associated with bicycles. In fact, the rule is
    significantly associated with an increase rather than a decrease in the bicycling injury rate. There
    are a number of possible explanations for this finding ....."

    Jeremy Parker
     
  4. Part 2 of Ross Petty's article is at <www.fplc.edu/RISK/vol2/spring/petty2.htm>

    Ross Petty is, it says, Assistant Professor of Business Law at Babson College

    Jeremy Parker
     
  5. Jiten Norio

    Jiten Norio Guest

    Jeremy Parker <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > Part 2 of Ross Petty's article is at <www.fplc.edu/RISK/vol2/spring/petty2.htm>

    Thank you for posting very informative links. But questions remain.

    The CPSC page http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/success/bikes.html refers to an article as an
    evidence of effectiveness of their regulation.

    >Wesley A. Magat and Michael J. Moore, "Consumer Product Safety Regulation in the United States and
    >the United Kingdom: The Case of Bicycles," Working Paper #93-11, Center for the Study of Business
    >Regulation and Economic Policy, The Fuqua School of Business, Duke University, 1993.

    The paper you cited was written in 1991. So the above paper on the CPSC page should be a counter
    article for the previous studies including Petty's article. What is the base of their counter
    arguments?

    Anyway, I will try to get the paper referred by CPSC, and will try to contact Ross Petty.

    The CPSC page (last Revised: May 5, 1996) states that
    >The participants also supported a CPSC project to evaluate current CPSC reflector requirements and
    >examine new reflector technology to determine if revisions in the standard could significantly
    >reduce nighttime riding hazards. This project is expected to be completed in 1997.

    Does anyone know what conclusions had been derived from the said project?
    --
    Jiten Norio (not a real name), a Japanese cyclist.
     
  6. Jiten Norio

    Jiten Norio Guest

    [email protected] (Jiten Norio) wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > The CPSC page (last Revised: May 5, 1996) states that
    > >The participants also supported a CPSC project to evaluate current CPSC reflector requirements
    > >and examine new reflector technology to determine if revisions in the standard could
    > >significantly reduce nighttime riding hazards. This project is expected to be completed in 1997.
    >
    > Does anyone know what conclusions had been derived from the said project?

    I think I found the answer to my own question. http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=ja&lr=&ie=UTF-8&i-
    nlang=ja&selm=%25wDq4.1419%24B96.33462%40nuq-read.news.verio.net

    >From: John Forester <[email protected]> Subject: Re: History of CPSC Reflector Regulation,
    >Green's response Date: 2000/02/16 Newsgroups: rec.bicycles.soc

    >I add that the CPSC's meetings about nighttime equipment have come to nothing, in part because of
    >the refusal of the CPSC to conduct the experiments that would be necessary to convince the CPSC of
    >the nability of its all-reflector system to alert motorists at the times required to avoid several
    >frequent types of nighttime car-bike collisions.
    --
    Jiten Norio (not a real name), a Japanese cyclist.
     
  7. James Annan

    James Annan Guest

    [email protected] (Jiten Norio) wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > Following is a long explanation about the background. You can skip to ************THE
    > QUESTIONS.**************** line.
    >
    > Recently, METI (Japanese ministry of economy, trade, and industry), a major group of Japanese
    > bicycle industries, and representatives of Japanese bicycle society (called Rin-kai) presented a
    > plan to apply Product Safety Consumer (PSC) act to bicycles. According to the plan, a PSC sticker
    > will be put on a bicycle which passed the new PSC regulation, and one can't sell a bicycle without
    > the sticker.

    > Sorry for being so long. Then my questions are,
    >
    > ************THE QUESTIONS.**************** Do CPSC regulations on bicycle any good for US people?
    > Is there any objective evidence that the CPSC regulations (including and/or other than the
    > reflector regulation) reduce the number of accidents?
    > ******************************************

    WTF has any of this got to do with safety anyway? It's just a classic protectionist ploy, for
    which Japan is deservedly infamous. "Keep this inferior foreign muck out, it's unsuitable for our
    genetic make-up."

    Don't be distracted by the 'safety' smokescreen, if you prove them wrong on that point they will
    just make up another reason or ignore you altogether. Perhaps they'll be claiming that Chinese-made
    saddles cause impotence next. While you're about it, why not ask Rin-kai when they are going to try
    to do something about the widespread illegality of tandems, which may seem like a minor triviality
    to some people but isn't exactly fair to the disabled (especially blind).

    James
     
  8. Jiten Norio wrote:

    > 1. Current Japanese PSC act explicitly precludes "traffic vehicles" from its target. Traffic
    > vehicles are defined in the Japanese Traffic Vehicle Law, and a bicycle is a traffic vehicle by
    > the law. Therefore, to apply PSC act to bicycles, it is necessary to change the PSC act and
    > redefine **bicycle as non-vehicle** within
    > it. I can't believe it is a good thing.

    Would it not be easier to remove the exclusion of trafic vehicles in general (or replace it with an
    exclusion for "cars", which was probably meant in the first place)

    > "Because of the recent increase of crude and cheep utility bicycles (mainly imported from
    > Mainland China), safety of Japanese bicycle consumers is threatened enormously.

    Could that be the poodles core? An anti-trade law that prevents import of forein goods not because
    they are bad, but because they are forein?

    Here in Germany, all bikes used on the road must comply with safety standards (spelled out by the
    German Institute for Standardisation,
    DIN), and need to have: Front-light and front relector (white), tail-light and reflector (red),
    pedal reflectors (yellow) and either reflecting tires or spoke reflectors for added visibility
    from the side. Also there need to be 2 independent brakes, bikes need to be lockable and have a
    stand. Chains need to be covered.

    There is general agreement that these implements make sense, although a lot of "riders of the
    apokalyse" fail to use their lights when riding in the dark (illegally, of course).

    DIN also specifies quality requirements for the frame, which are ignored by some manufacturers. I
    know what I am talking about: I once suddenly had the left half of the handle bar break of while
    riding (fortunately I was going slow and no harm was done). And that was a 600 Euro bike!

    So may be some internationally agreed upon standards would be a good thing. After all, what do we
    have ISO for?
     
  9. Jiten Norio

    Jiten Norio Guest

    Dr Engelbert Buxbaum <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > Jiten Norio wrote:
    >
    > >1. Current Japanese PSC act explicitly precludes "traffic vehicles"
    > > from its target. Traffic vehicles are defined in the Japanese
    > So may be some internationally agreed upon standards would be a good thing. After all, what do we
    > have ISO for?

    First of all, I strongly agree with you at this point.

    In Japan,
    > all bikes used on the road must have: Front-light, tail reflector (red), Also there need to be 2
    > independent brakes
    by the traffic law.

    Adding to that there is a informational safety standard system known by its SG (Safety Goods)
    stickers (additional reflectors) and TS (Traffic Safety) stickers (maintained by a certificated
    bicycle mechanic). In the meantime, those sticker systems are far from effective partly because
    the cost of buying the stickers from the quasi governmental body imposes on manufacturers and
    shops heavily. By the way, almost all utility bicycles sold in Japan are already equipped with SG
    compliance look-alike reflectors and a front light irrespective of the ineffectiveness of the
    stickers. ‘Sports' bicycles and folding bikes have different stories. I don't believe the TS mark
    system had ever worked well.

    The Japanese PSC act is very strict. One will be punished if tried to sell a PSC product without the
    sticker. Because of its strictness, only several products have been listed as actual targets of the
    PSC act (the list consists of pressured pots and pans, driving helmets, a certain kind of baby beds,
    ropes used for climbing, portable laser apparatuses, and Jet baths). I don't think the bicycle is a
    good candidate for the PSC act.

    > Would it not be easier to remove the exclusion of traffic vehicles in general (or replace it with
    > an exclusion for "cars", which was probably meant in the first place)

    Traffic vehicles including bicycles need maintenances and operator's attentions in order to handle
    them safely. The Japanese
    PSC act seeks for foolproof safetystandards that can't be achieved for traffic vehicles.

    > There is general agreement that these implements make sense, although a lot of "riders of the
    > apokalyse" fail to use their lights when riding in the dark (illegally, of course).

    Same (or worse) here in Japan, I heard a rumor that the BPSC people (Shimano)has a proposal that
    every BPSC compliant bicycle should have an auto turn-on front light (which is, accidentally
    manufactured by Shimano). Judging from my experience using those unreliable auto light system, it
    would be better to educate the consumers about the necessity of a front light on night riding.

    > DIN also specifies quality requirements for the frame, which are ignored by some manufacturers. I
    > know what I am talking about: I once suddenly had the left half of the handle bar break of while
    > riding (fortunately I was going slow and no harm was done). And that was a 600 Euro bike!

    JIS standard for the bycycle frame strength is often ignored, also.

    I think publicizing the correct information will be the key to the safety of bicycles.
    --
    Jiten Norio (not a real name), a Japanese cyclist
     
  10. Jiten Norio

    Jiten Norio Guest

    [email protected] (James Annan) wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    >
    > WTF has any of this got to do with safety anyway? It's just a classic protectionist ploy, for
    > which Japan is deservedly infamous. "Keep this inferior foreign muck out, it's unsuitable for our
    > genetic make-up."
    >
    > Don't be distracted by the 'safety' smokescreen, if you prove them wrong on that point they will
    > just make up another reason or ignore you altogether. Perhaps they'll be claiming that
    > Chinese-made saddles cause impotence next.

    While your analysis may be true, I think the SAFETY is the last and ultimate weapon for them. I
    don't think they can ban foreign bicycles because of 'their saddles cause impotence'. So, I will
    continue to look for evidence about the safety.

    By the way, I think I found the newer (1995) version of Magat and Moore's paper;(defending CPSC) at
    http://www.nber.org/papers/w5157f.pdf . To my disappointment (or had I predicted it?), the paper
    does not address Perry's arguments (published in 1991) at all. There is no mention about '25%
    reduction of accident' neither. It seems to be replaced by the more indirect arguments.

    > While you're about it, why not ask Rin-kai when they are going to try to do something about the
    > widespread illegality of tandems, which may seem like a minor triviality to some people but isn't
    > exactly fair to the disabled (especially blind).

    Do (or will) they do something for tandem ban? I, as an outsider of Rin-kai, hear nothing about
    that. As far as I know, only some volunteers act against the ban and I will support them
    whenever possible.

    --
    Jiten Norio (not a real name), a Japanese cyclist.
     
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