VanMoof E-Bike Problems May Have Caused Accident That Resulted in Traumatic Brain Injury

Problems with VanMoof electric bicycles may have resulted in a tragic accident, which left a New York man in a medically induced coma with a traumatic brain injury.

According to allegations which may be raised in a product liability lawsuit, VanMoof e-bikes are defective and missing key safety components, which could have resulted in the crash just minutes after the 49 year-old Brooklyn man began a test ride.

Robert Mallin was test driving a VanMoof e-bike at a Williamsburg dealer in New York earlier this month when he crashed, suffering a fractured skull and brain hemorrhaging, which led to him being in an induced into a coma for at least 10 days at Bellevue Medical Center, according to a report in the New York Post.

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A petition filed this month in Brooklyn Supreme Court by Mallin’s partner, Melissa Rosenfield, indicated the rear fender of the bike appeared to be in direct contact with the rear wheel at the scene of the accident. The petition also indicates screws were found to be missing from the e-bike, which could have caused the rear wheel fender to touch the bike tire.

Rosenfield asks the court to require VanMoof USA Inc. preserve the e-bike in its current state while any surveillance footage from the incident is recovered, in case a lawsuit against the e-bike manufacturer is filed in the near future.

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which forced millions across the nation to stay home with limited outdoor activities, the e-bike industry has seen a significant increase in sales, with VanMoof being one of the more visible brands, which some have called “the Tesla of electric bikes.”

The electric bikes are pedal assisted, meaning the electric motor is activated by the manual rotation of the pedals. VanMoof products have become increasingly popular due to their boost buttons that makes it easier to get up to desired speeds with less effort. However, the Dutch electric startup company has fallen under scrutiny in years for defects in the design of the bikes, which put riders at increased fall and injury hazards.

One of the first VanMoof e-bike recalls was issued by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in 2017, impacting the VanMoof B and S series bicycles that were designed with non-breaking front fender bolts.

According to the recall, officials had received two reports from riders that crashed on the bikes due to the front fender bolts not breaking when an object gets stuck between the front tire and the front fender/mud guard. Officials warned that road objects picked up from the wheels could create an obstruction between the bike fender and the front wheel. Due to the bikes being manufactured with stainless steel fender bolts, the fenders would not break, causing the wheel to abruptly jam and increase the risk of a tip-over and crash hazard.

Officials reported that, of the two injuries reported, one instance resulted in bruises, scratches and a broken arm, while the second report involved a rider suffering from a concussion.

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