Every little kid dreams of the day they get their first bicycle. A fresh coat of paint, a new bell and a big bow on top. But not every bike is the gift you think it is. More and more often, consumers are experiencing equipment failure with fresh-off-the-line bicycles. The improperly assembled products are causing serious injuries to riders, especially children.
Bikes can fail because either the parts of the bike were improperly manufactured or because they were unsafely assembled.
We tend to focus on the dangers cyclists face like collisions with vehicles and pedestrians, and often we forget that the machine itself can cause serious injury when improperly assembled by mass-merchants.
What Can Go Wrong
There are many different ways in which a bicycle can be improperly assembled, or defectively manufactured. They include but aren’t limited to:
Improperly tightened wheel skewers: The quick release skewers that are supposed to hold the wheels onto the front fork or rear fork drop out of the bicycle. If they are too lose, the wheels can actually fall off the bicycle. This is one of the most common dangers faced by cyclists and can cause the most trauma to a rider.
Defective bicycle frames and forks: High-end bike frames are often made out of carbon fiber because it is lightweight and has an increased stiffness. When carbon fiber is used properly it can be a very strong, reliable material. However, when manufactured improperly, can pose a serious threat to riders. Victims are often unable to see minor cracks or signs of damage on their carbon fiber frames and forks, and when they break during a ride, can leave the cyclist catastrophically injured. These defects are more dangerous because there are few outward signs that the defect even exists.
In January, a lawsuit was filed in a Florida Federal Court against Walmart, stating that the company’s bike assembly is so inadequate that it puts an entire class of consumers at risk for injury.
The Plantiff, Boyd Johnson, claims that after he purchased a Roadmaster Granite Peak bike from the retail giant. When riding the bike a few weeks later the handlebar came loose within the stem and slide the entire way down to the right, he claims. This caused Johnson to lose control and he was sent flying over the front of the bike.
He believes the bike, which was assembled entirely by Walmart employees, was assembled negligently.
Similar complaints have been made against Huffy, another bicycle manufacturer.
A number of injuries can take place during a cycling accident, ranging from cuts and bruises, to traumatic brain injuries and paralysis. It is important that you recognize that risks involved, and take follow proper safety procedures before operating a new bicycle. Make sure you examine your product completely before mounting it. Also, be sure to always wear a helmet.
There has been a number of lawsuits filed against the merchants who sell these improperly assembled bicycles, and numerous recalls of defective bikes by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. If a product is purchased and does not perform as stated, but instead, causes injury or harm to its users, the situation could lead to substantial frustration as a result of the injuries. A potentially defective process can cause substantial dangerous circumstances, and when they occur, it is important to obtain the help you need. Our firm can use each experience we have encountered, as a team and individuals, to make your case one that is prepared to be fought. If you or someone you love has been injured due to an improperly assembled bicycle, you may be entitled to a settlement.