When we talk about bicycle accidents in Boston, we’re usually referring to a situation in which a motorist strikes a cyclist.
But there is another danger that is important to underscore, and that involves defective bicycles and dangerous parts. When there is a mechanical failure of a bicycle component due to defect, it can either cause a crash or make it impossible for the cyclist to avoid one. Such an issue could also result in worse injuries than might have otherwise been sustained.
At The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman's BikeAttorney.com, we recognize Boston as home to many serious cyclists. Some people invest hundreds or even thousands of dollars on top-notch bicycles, equipment and gear. They have the right to expect their purchases will hold up to the standards and promises of the manufacturer. When this does not happen, there should be fair compensation, similarly, those who rent bicycles on Hubway have a right to expect those bicycles and equipment will be properly maintained.
Common Bicycle Failures and Claims
Some of the main failures of bicycles include:
- Carbon fork failure
- Defective carbon fiber frames
- Defective brakes
- Defective wheels
- Defect on quick-release hubs on front wheels
When injuries result from these situations, claims for damages will be filed as product liability lawsuits. In these cases, plaintiffs (persons injured) allege:
- Bicycle was defectively-designed;
- Bicycle was improperly manufactured;
- Bicycle was distributed without proper warning of danger.
Possible liable parties in these cases may include:
- Manufacturer of the product or parts;
- The assembly company;
- The wholesaler;
- The distributor;
- The retailer;
- The repair shop;
- The city (if bicycle was from Hubway).
If you have been injured in a bike crash and suspect it may have been due at least in part to a defect with the bicycle, make sure to preserve that evidence, take lots of photos at the scene and contact an injury lawyer as soon as possible.
Major Bicycle Recalls in Recent Years
Some of the most expensive bicycles on the market can cost upwards of $10,000. But that doesn’t necessarily insulate consumers from safety issues.
For example, bike maker Trek has a model that sells for $7,500.00. (Most city bike models go for between $800 to $3,500, while road bikes cost between $1,500 to $15,000.) Yet this popular bike manufacturer in 2015 initiated one of the largest bicycle recalls in U.S. history. The action affected 900,000 bicycles sold in the U.S. and another 98,000 in Canada. The problem had to do with the front wheel’s quick-release skewer on bikes with disc brakes, and it affected models priced between $4,380 and $1,650 manufactured between 1999 and 2015. The fix is a simple replacement of the quick release. However, recall response rates on most goods are notoriously low. That’s a big concern when you consider the potentially devastating consequences: Trek representatives cited a 2014 incident in which a rider was paralyzed. An investigation sparked by that incident uncovered at least two other injuries (a fractured wrist and facial injuries) connected to this same problem.
Other recalls in recent years include:
- 28,000 Cannondale bicycles with OPI stem/ steering tubes in 2016. The assemblies can fail, resulting in risk of injury from a fall.
- 1,000 Stolen BMX bikes recalled because the front wheel can detach due to improperly-fitting retention washers that fail to meet federal standards.
- 1.55 million bicycles from 13 manufacturers and distributors in the U.S., Canada and Mexico recalled for quick release lever issues. Specifically, the quick release lever on the front wheel hub can come in contact with the front disc brake rotor, resulting in the front wheel coming to an abrupt stop or separating from the bike.
- Undisclosed number of bicycle brakes made by SRAM were recalled in 2014 because the brake systems were reported to have failed, posing crash and injury risk. There were some 95 reports of brakes failing.
- 12,000 Specialized Bicycle Components were recalled in 2012 due to issues with the front fork breaking. Reports of injury included head trauma, facial fractures, shoulder injuries and cuts.
- 8,600 Salsa Bicycles in 2009. Handlebar stems can crack and break, posing a rider fall hazard. The recall involves all CroMoto S.U.L. stems sold aftermarket and those sold on models of complete Salsa bicycles.
- 80,000 Adams Trail-a-Bike and Adams Slipstream Bicycle Attachment Units in 2005. Made by Norco Products, the hardware used to make the bikes can come lose, resulting in separation of the unit from the lead bicycle, which could result in serious or fatal injury to the rider of the bicycle attachment.
These are just a sample. Bicycle recalls are announced routinely by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
If you suspect your bicycle accident was caused or your injuries more severe due to a defect with your bike, contact our offices today. We offer free consultations prior to launching an in-depth investigation of all relevant facts and laws. From there, we formulate a comprehensive, effective legal strategy to obtain compensation for you and your family.
Contact the Boston Bicycle Accident Lawyers at The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman's BikeAttorney.com.