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Banned Bikes No Barrel of Monkeys

1 August 2005

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) supports the Victorian Government's decision to ban the sale of so-called monkey bikes , provided that the decision does not impinge on the sale of legitimate mini-bikes by reputable motorcycle manufacturers.

The Motorcycle Group of the FCAI, which represents all the major motorcycle brands in Australia, says it is important for governments and consumers to understand the very clear distinction between monkey bikes and mini-bikes.

Monkey bikes are half-scale replicas of road-going motorcycles and can reach speeds of up to 70km/h.

"They cannot be registered for road use and cannot be legally ridden on any publicly-owned property, including roads, bicycle paths and footpaths," said the Chief Executive of the FCAI, Peter Sturrock.

In contrast, the mini-bikes sold by our members are miniature dirt bikes designed to be ridden purely for recreational purposes by children at supervised mini-bike tracks or on private property.

Mr Sturrock said the FCAI shares the concerns of the Victorian Government about the safety of monkey bikes, which led it to impose the retail ban.

An investigation by Consumer Affairs Victoria revealed some monkey bikes had unsafe throttles, brakes, steering assemblies and foot pegs.

The sale of monkey bikes has not yet come under scrutiny in other states and territories, but the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is currently investigating whether national action is required.

The majority of monkey bikes sold in Australia are manufactured in China and priced between $300 and $1500 dollars each.

The motorcycle industry says it appears there was a large increase in the importation of monkey bikes into Australia during the second half of last year.

Many have been offered for sale through retail outlets that are not motorcycle specialists and do not provide warranty and service back-up.

Consumer Affairs Victoria has warned consumers who have bought monkey bikes to have them checked for safety by a qualified automotive mechanic.

"Our members' mini-bikes are sold through reputable and authorised motorcycle dealers, supported by warranties and parts back-up," said Mr Sturrock.

Mini-bikes are built to the same high standard and with the same quality of materials as full-sized bikes manufactured by our members.

The quality of monkey bikes reflects badly on the legitimate motorcycle industry and we are very concerned for the safety of unwary consumers.