ORLANDO, Fla. – As parents consider purchasing bicycles for their children this holiday season, bike mechanics are warning consumers to make sure the bikes have been properly assembled at the store, particularly those bought at department stores and "big box" retailers like Walmart and Target.
[WEB EXTRA: Is that bike safe?]
"You should really have the confidence and assurance that the bike you're purchasing has been put together correctly," said Joshua Jiannuzzi. Long before he began working as a mechanic at Kyle's Bike Shop in Orlando, Jiannuzzi assembled bikes at Kmart.
"A lot of times the people assembling it are the people assembling your patio furniture, your barbecues, your grills. The same people who sometimes bag your groceries," said Jiannuzzi.
Other times the bicycles are assembled by contractors hired by the retailer. Those contractors are often paid for each bike they put together, according to Jiannuzzi, giving them a financial incentive to assemble the bikes quickly.
To see how well bicycles have been assembled at stores, Local 6 reporter Mike DeForest purchased four bikes from popular retailers and took them to Kyle's Bike Shop for a basic safety inspection.
Three of the four bikes failed the mechanic's examination, based on the way they were assembled.
"This bike absolutely should have been made safer," said Jiannuzzi, referring to a 24-inch Huffy Trail Runner purchased at Walmart. "This is personally a bike I would not have my own child riding."