Some motorcycle accidents are caused by mistakes in the manufacture or design of the motorcycle. Recalls are put in place to remove the defective parts or vehicles from the road and keep people safe, but sometimes they come too late.
If you or someone you love suffered serious injuries as the result of a motorcycle accident, please contact Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, at (212) 986-7353 for a free case evaluation. Our New York motorcycle accident attorneys have years of experience successfully representing clients who have been in serious crashes, and recovering the monetary compensation that they deserve.
Motorcycle recalls are common in the United States, and are typically caused by defects that put the consumer at risk for serious injury and possibly death. According to the United States Code for Motor Vehicle Safety - Title 49, Chapter 301, Section 30101 (a) (8), manufacturers must design "…a motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment in a way that protects the public against unreasonable risk of accidents occurring because of the design, construction, or performance of a motor vehicle, and against unreasonable risk of death or injury in an accident…" This includes nonoperational safety for the motor vehicle as well.
If a motorcycle is found to be defective for any reason, it is the responsibility of the manufacturer to take care of it. For example, if a motorcycle is defective, the manufacturer must inform the owners; if motorcycle equipment is faulty or defective, the manufacturer is expected to inform vehicle distributors.
There are many factors which may pose a threat to a motorcyclist, such as:
- Tire failure: Tires are the true point of contact between a motorcycle rider and the road, and everything that a rider does ultimately goes through the tires. When there is a problem with the tires, such as poor-quality rubber or faulty manufacturing, serious accidents can occur. Tire defects need to be detected by the manufacturer of the tire, and communicated not only to motorcycle makers and dealers, but also to customers who might be on the road.
- Brake failure: Your brakes ensure that you can slow down and stop. Faulty or failing brakes are incredibly dangerous since motorcyclists aren’t likely to realize the danger until they need the brakes, at which point it is often too late.
- Faulty toe clips: Toe clips are used by some motorcycle riders to help keep their feet squarely on the shifters of the motorcycle. If these clips fail, a biker’s feet can shift forward or even slip off, reducing his control over the motorcycle. Toe clips are not necessarily placed on the shifters by the motorcycle manufacturer, so the manufacturer of the toeclips is responsible for ensuring the right materials are used and letting customers know about any issues that arise.
- Chain defects: Chain maintenance is a very important part of motorcycle upkeep, which is why a faulty or defective chain is a serious issue. If a chain breaks during a ride, it can whip the leg of the rider, causing major lacerations, and even get lodged in the rear wheel, causing it to seize up and sending the motorcycle into a skid.
- Defective shock absorbers: Shock absorbers on a motorcycle, also referred to as its suspension, help the rider keep control of the motorcycle in terms of overall handling and braking, and reduce the amount of road noise, bumping, and vibrating experienced by riders. Defects in the shock absorbers can make for an unpleasant ride, and may also result in a serious collision.
- Rear wheel lock-up: Motorcycles typically have both front and rear wheel brakes, which can be used separately or together when slowing down the vehicle. The rear wheels can lock-up due a defect in the manufacturing of the motorcycle. The manufacturer should notify dealers and customers of issues and order a recall if appropriate to fix or replace faulty parts that can cause a lock-up during normal operation.
Defects in aftermarket modifications on a motorcycle should be handled by the manufacturers of those devices. This means that if you change out the shock absorbers or alter the brakes on your bike, you need to be aware of what is happening with those parts and their manufacturers. The maker of your motorcycle is not liable for those modifications and will not notify you of recalls or errors with them.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle crash, the New York personal injury lawyers at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, & Halperin, LLP, would like to meet with you. Please call our office at (212) 986-7353 to set up an appointment to discuss your case.
Michael Fitzpatrick obtained a settlement for a 58-year-old man who was riding his motorcycle when he was struck by the defendant's vehicle exiting a driveway.
Kenneth J. Halperin represented a motorcycle driver in upstate New York who was ejected from his motorcycle when he ran over a patch of small rocks in a roadway, causing him to lose control of his bike.