The newest transportation gadget is the electronically powered bicycle, commonly referred to as the e-bike. Over the last five years, e-bike sales have shot up from 152,000 in 2016 to 804,000 in 2021. As sales of e-bikes have skyrocketed, experts are sounding the alarm on the new technology’s safety hazards. According to the author of a 2020 study on e-bike safety, e-bikes are associated with more serious injury than manual bikes. Specifically, the study found that e-bike riders were more likely than manual bike riders to suffer internal injuries and need hospitalization after an accident.
Recently, a family in California filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Red Power Bikes after their daughter died in an accident involving the company’s e-bikes. Filed in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, the lawsuit also names Giro Sport Design, the manufacturer of the helmet the 12 year-old victim wore at the time of her accident. In January 2021, the victim was riding as a passenger on a RadRunner bike, sitting on a flat rack over the e-bike’s back wheel. Allegedly relying on the e-bike’s electric boost, which reaches speeds up to 20 miles per hour without pedaling, she and her friend rode to the top of a hill. While descending the hill, the e-bike allegedly picked up speed and began to shake. When the brakes failed to slow or stop the e-bike, her friend lost control. Both girls were thrown, and the victim suffered traumatic brain injury that left her unconscious. She never regained consciousness and died 16 days later.
What Does the Lawsuit Allege?
The lawsuit against Red Power Bikes alleges that several features of the Seattle-based company’s RadRunner bike created a significant safety risk. First, the suit claims the e-bike’s flat rack feature “invites a passenger to sit in tandem” as another person operates the e-bike, as opposed to a design that discourages passengers from riding the solo bike. Second, it alleges Red Power Bikes manufactures their RadRunner e-bikes with a “known safety hazard” in the bike industry, a combination of disc brakes and a quick-release detachment of the front wheel, which began wobbling before the victim’s friend lost control of the e-bike. These design flaws allegedly impeded riders’ ability to slow down and stop when riding downhill, enabling the e-bike to pick up speed instead.
Additionally, the suit alleges “inappropriate marketing of e-bikes to children,” claiming Red Power Bikes “failed to adequately warn” about the safety hazards associated with children riding the company’s e-bikes. While the RadRunner owner’s manual warns that Rad Power Bikes designed the e-bike for adults, the company’s website features photographs of children riding as passengers and labels some e-bikes models suitable for riders who are least 4’10”. The victim’s family is requesting damages in an amount to be determined by the jury.
How Long Do You Have to File a Product Liability Claim in Maryland?
Under Maryland Law, you have just three years to file a product liability claim. However, it is generally best to file you claim as soon as possible to ensure all the necessary evidence is available.
Have You Been Involved in an E-Bike Accident?
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries or died in a Maryland e-bike accident, contact an experienced personal injury attorney at Lebowitz & Mzhen today. The dedicated attorneys at our Maryland personal injury law firm will work tirelessly to pursue the parties responsible for your harm. Our clients have received significant compensation for their injury or loss. For a free initial consultation, contact our office at (800) 654-1949 or through our online form.