E-Bike Class Action Lawsuit Claims Rad Power Bike Front Wheels Can Fall Off Unexpectedly
Rad Power Bikes faces a class action lawsuit over problems with its e-bikes, seeking to hold the manufacturer responsible for design defects, which may cause front wheels to detach during use, and expose riders to a risk of injuries.
The complaint (PDF) was filed by Gary E. Mason on September 15 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, indicating that the manufacturers, Rad Power Bikes, Inc. and Rad Power Bikes, LLC, continued to sell defective power bikes, despite knowing they presented a safety risk to riders.
Mason, from Maryland, sustained five broken ribs and a broken clavicle in May 2021, when the front wheel of his RadRunner Electric Utility Bike detached when he activated the brakes. This caused him to be thrown over the handlebars, landing on his back.
As a result of the e-bike accident, Mason was hospitalized for two days and spent six weeks in physical therapy, according to the lawsuit.
Mason indicates in the complaint that the electric powered bikes can reach speeds of up to 20 miles per hour. However, all Rad bike models are equipped with disc brakes and quick release skewers that allow the rider to remove the wheel from the bike without a tool for easy transport. This can cause the bike to suddenly stop or cause the front wheel to fall off unexpectedly, potentially throwing the rider over the handlebars, the lawsuit alleges.
The complaint calls the design of Rad Bikes defective, saying the disk brakes and quick release mechanism for the front wheel poses an unreasonable injury risk for consumers. Similar design problems resulted in a bike disc brake recall in 2015, which impacted more than a dozen different bike manufacturers, due to a risk that the front wheels may suddenly stop and separate, injuring the rider.
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While Rad E-bikes were not included in the 2015 recall, the company received reports of injuries similar to those reported from the recalled brakes, but continued to sell them to consumers without fixing the problem or providing adequate warnings, the lawsuit indicates.
Mason also alleges that the front fork design of the bikes is defective, which, when combined with the heavy weight of the bikes, can cause the bike to fall apart while in motion and injure the rider.
The complaint highlights numerous comments consumers left online about issues they experienced while using the power bikes. The comments involved stories of users falling off or crashing after the front skewers snapped, or after the wheel fell off while in motion. They also mention issues with the wheel quick release, which resulted in broken bones and other injuries.
The lawsuit notes that the bikes are advertised as safe to transport children and offer passenger seat attachment accessories, despite the death of a 12-year-old girl, who lost control and crashed the bike after it started to shake. She died two weeks later, and her parents filed a wrongful death suit against the manufacturer last year.
Mason’s lawsuit seeks class action status for anyone nationwide who has purchased a Rad e-bike. The lawsuit presents claims of strict liability, breach of implied warranty, unjust enrichment, strict product liability, and violations of consumer protection laws.
CatalinaOctober 5, 2023 at 12:25 am
This happened to my daughter 2 months ago! Her front tire came out, causing her to swerve and fall. Fortunately, she was riding at a slow pace, but the bike's fork got tweaked. It's quite scary!
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