Bicyclists have small profiles on the road, travel more slowly, and are more exposed than other motorists. This makes bicyclists harder to be seen by drivers of other vehicles and more likely to be involved in a collision or accident resulting in serious injuries.
Another source of serious injuries to bicyclists, however, is defective bicycles, bicycle parts and cycling products. In fact, for many years, bicycles ranked number one on the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's (CPSC) product hazard index and continue to be ranked among the most dangerous products for children.
Much of the concern as early as four decades ago stemmed from a lack of bicycle product safety features that were an impetus for the CPSC to begin requiring coverings for protruding bolts, protected edges on metal fenders, chain guards for certain types of bikes, locking devices to secure wheel hubs, wide angle reflectors, and clear instructions for assembly and maintenance.
But every year there are numerous recalls due to injuries caused by defective bicycles and bicycle parts. For a listing of bicycle and bicycle part recalls, please visit http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/ and select “Bicycles and Accessories”.
Even when a bicyclist exercises utmost care, a defect in the design or maintenance of the bicycle itself can cause a dangerous condition such that a serious accident becomes imminent. If such an accident occurs, in most cases the best course of action is to consult with a knowledgeable attorney who can determine if the accident was truly as a result of product liability, the negligence of another motorist, or a dangerous roadway condition.
The cause of a bicycle accident may not be so clear-cut. Take, for instance, a case in which a bicyclist is forced off a bike path because a motorist did not provide adequate clearance. The bicyclist subsequently hits a pothole that causes the bicycle, which has a substandard frame, to buckle under the stress created by hitting the far edge of the pothole, seriously injuring the rider.
The manufacturer of the bicycle may wish to have the bicycle sent to the factory for an inspection. This should not be done until the bicyclist’s attorney has done his or her own review of the facts and, if necessary, consulted with the appropriate experts. As with accidents involving automobiles or other vehicles, any facts or evidence such as photographs gathered early on could prove invaluable to a legal claim.
Even when a bicyclist travels at slow speeds and does not collide nor is impeded by another vehicle, the bicycle’s frame or another critical component can fail and cause serious injury. Among the likelier design and manufacturing defects are included aluminum frames, composite forks or bolts that fracture. Legal action against a bicycle manufacturer could instigate bicycle design and manufacturing changes that benefit all potential users in addition to redressing your particular case.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a defective bicycle, please contact us. We will help you find a product liability attorney near you who can help you recover the financial compensation to which you are entitled.