Miniature motorcycles intended for off-road use by children and adolescents have enjoyed wide popularity since the 1960s.1 Manufacture of these small two-wheeled motor vehicles is not regulated by any federal motor vehicle safety standards. Neither the rider nor the vehicle are required to be licensed. Some of these vehicles are small enough for a 4-year-old child and many are intended for use by school-aged children.2
Minibikes, weighing less than 45 kg (100 lb), are the smallest and most primitive of these vehicles. The more sophisticated minicycles are constructed to resemble miniature motorcycles. Trailcycles are larger than minicycles and have power and design characteristics that make them suitable for rough terrain. All of these vehicles have a short wheelbase and a low profile; thus, they are relatively unstable and poorly visible.3
In 1978, there were approximately 19,000 motorbike-related injuries treated in emergency rooms. Nearly half of these injuries were attributed to accidents involving the minibike (US Consumer Product Safety Commission, news release, Aug 27, 1979). In 1982, there were an estimated 12,000 children 14 years of age and younger who suffered minibike- and trailbike-related injuries (National Electronic Injury Surveillance data, National Information Clearing House, US Consumer Product Safety Commission, 1985). Since 1980, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has collected at least 24 death certificates that implicate minibikes and trailcycles. Half of those who died were children 14 years of age or younger. Children often use these vehicles illegally on roadways. Injury typically results from falls or collisions with fixed objects or other motor vehicles.
- Copyright © 1987 by the American Academy of Pediatrics