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When looking for a bike, whether it be a mountain bike or a road bike, there are certain things you need to consider. Take into account your budget, the terrain you will be biking over, and the kind of bike that will fit your needs. Most importantly, regardless of the type of bike you may end up purchasing, you’ll need to pay special attention to the bike components.

When purchasing a bicycle, you’ll need to check the frame to make sure that the size and weight fit you and your needs. You’ll also want to check the welding on the frame. Understand your bike’s drivetrain—chain, cassettes, gears and all. The more hills you ride, the more gears you’ll want to have on your bike. If you are riding mostly flat terrains, a bike with fewer gears will serve you well. You’ll also need to take your bike’s suspension into consideration. The suspension is what absorbs the impact when biking on rugged terrain. Mountain bikes will have either a front suspension or full suspension (both front and back). A hybrid, which is good for both road and trail, will usually have front suspension. Road bikes usually have none since they were built mostly for smooth pavements. Check the fork of the bike to make sure that there are no cracks.

It is important to make sure that none of the bike components are defective. Defective parts and improper assembly can cause serious injury that may lead to disability or even death.

Some of the most common bike defects are:

  • Defective brakes
  • Defective wheels
  • Cracking during manufacturing
  • Defective frames and forks
  • Improper assembly

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission has ordered numerous recalls of defective bicycles. Some of which include:

  • December 2017—Rocky Mountain 2018 Altitude, Instinct, and Pipeline. The brake cable housing was not secured properly during manufacturing, which can cause brake failure, posing a crash hazard to the rider.
  • February 2018—Specialized 2018 Allez, Allez Sport, Allez Elite. The fork on the bicycle can break and cause the rider to lose control, posing a crash hazard.
  • May 2018—IKEA SLADDA bicycles. The bicycle belt can break, posing a fall hazard.

When cycling injuries are caused by a defective bike or bike parts, it is possible to seek damages under the product liability law. There are three types of a product defect that may incur liability: Design defects—poor product design; Manufacturing defects—improperly manufactured products that depart from its intended design; and Failure to warn—failure to provide adequate warnings.

There have been cases of product liability lawsuits due to defective bikes. In 2007, one cyclist sued Toys ‘R’ Us after the right pedal of a bicycle he bought from the store snapped off and the cyclist crashed and was injured. The jury sided with the cyclist. In 2011, a court of appeals ruled in favor of a woman who crashed and was injured due to a faulty REI bike frame.

Should you find yourself injured because of a defective bicycle, it is important that you keep a few things in mind. Get medical help. The medical records will help establish the extent of your injuries. Have photos taken of your injuries from different angles as soon as possible? Also, keep your defective bike if you suspect that the crash was caused by a defect. Do not tamper with it. If you need expert legal advice, contact us at Hogan Injury.

None of the content on is legal advice nor is it a replacement for advice from a certified lawyer. Please consult a legal professional for further information.

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