Today I took some time-off to head down to Trenton to observe and possibly speak before the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee about A1251 otherwise known as the "Quick Release Bill."
First the good news:
The bill has already seen substantial revision and will continue to be amended so that it truely only covers bicycles that have only a certain size wheel and that are only intended for children.
Besides myself, Patrick Cunnane of Advanced Sports (Fuji, Breezer, Kestrel) attended the meeting and has been representing industry interests on this bill. Patrick has been communicating with the bill sponsors about the language and he told me and the committee that if the bill moves forward with the revised language, that the bicycle industry was comfortable with that language and that they would not oppose it.
Now the bad news:
While this was all somewhat reassuring to hear it still means that the bill continues to move forward.
After Patrick gave a few quick comments confirming his position to the committee, one of the Assemblymen (I believe it was Jon M. Bramnick) also added that this bill should only cover new retail sales and not include used bicycle sales, particularly those between two private parties to which the other committee members seemed to agree.
At this point I was given a moment to testify as a concerned private citizen (I did not attend to officially represent WalkBikeJersey). I echoed Patrick's relief that this bill will not be as draconian as first drafted, however I still objected to the need for the bill at all saying that civil litigation often has a way of self regulating industry. After my brief comments opposing the bill Chairwoman Nilsa Cruz-Perez responded with the view of the committee. I won't go into details as to what she said except to say that "if this bill can save one child" was uttered.
My impression after the hearing is that the bill's authors and sponsors have nothing but good intentions. However I continue believe that they are a bit misguided. Still, it should be noted that even a much more benign version of this bill may never make it into law.
We'll continue to stay on top of this bill and keep you informed about its progress. When the new draft language becomes available, well be sure to get it to you.