Waste of bicycles may prompt law review

Here is a small item which shows how one perfectly sensible legal instrument can obstruct an equally sensible environment issue (use of resources) and a social equity issue (access to mobility).

A New Zealand law that requires second-hand bicycles to be sold with their instruction manuals may be changed.

The New Zealand Herald reports that Commerce Commission spokesperson Jackie Maitland said the requirement for a manual to accompany any bike sold was secondary to ensuring the bike was safe to ride, but both issues were still written in law. Ms Maitland said the commission was working with the Ministry of Consumer Affairs on possibly reviewing the rules, but any change would be a long way off. “The problem is, that law doesn´t really distinguish a new bike from a second-hand one in what´s required to sell it,” she said.

Meanwhile, about 75 lost and stolen bikes piled up at Turners Auctions in Napier will be cut up and dumped because police cannot legally sell them. Police previously auctioned unclaimed bikes and other stolen or misplaced property until the commission warned them that selling a bike without its manual breached the Fair Trading Act and could land them a $30,000 fine. Senior Constable Colin Baker, of Hastings police, said he could not even allow people to claim bikes they had found and handed in when police could not find the real owner. “If someone gets one of these bikes and then goes away and has an accident, it can all come back on us,” he said.

Turners Auctions spokeswoman Liz Robinson said many of the recovered bikes were in very good condition, some only a few years old. “There are families who can´t afford to buy an old second-hand bike, but we have to cut up some quite nice ones because they don´t have manuals.”

Consumer Affairs chief executive David Russell said the tough law would be something they would be looking into. “If it (the law) is enforced, it is a wicked waste of perfectly good bikes.”

Ano da Publicação: 2003
Fonte: WARMER BULLETIN ENEWS #22-2003: July 4, 2003
Autor: Kit Strange, Warmer Bulletin
Email do Autor: bulletin@residua.com

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