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Defective Bicycle and Motorcycle Liability

February 1, 2020  ·  By HM&M



Bicycle retailers and manufacturers can be liable for injuries under product liability laws when the bicycle was defectively designed, manufactured, assembled, or maintained. One common type of bicycle product liability case involves quick-release hubs on the front wheels of bicycles. The quick release hubs allow a bike’s wheels to be removed for easy transportation. If the quick release hubs are not properly tightened, are not properly designed into the bicycle, or are incompatible with other components on the bicycle, the wheels can suddenly and unexpectedly disengage from the bicycle. Bicyclists whose front wheel disengages from their fork are propelled forward and over the front handlebars and can be severely injured.

Cyclists can also be injured by the failure of carbon components of the bicycle. For example, the fork and frame can suddenly and unexpectedly collapse, causing injuries. Other defective bicycle parts that can cause injury include:

  • Faulty tires/tire tubes;
  • Defective hand brakes;
  • Cracked pedals; and
  • Chains that break or come apart.

Sometimes, a bike may come to the retailer with a sound design, but the retail shop does not assemble it properly. In these cases, the retailer may be held liable for any injuries that occur if the bike falls apart.


Motorcycle manufacturers and retailers can be liable for injuries caused by fuel line design and manufacturing defects, which have resulted in fires and explosions; tire defects, resulting in stability loss and crash of the motorcycle; and handlebar defects, which result in loss of bike control at high speeds. Motorcycle product liability claims can be lodged in one of two general categories:

  • Defective Parts: such as those mentioned above.
  • Dangerous Design: Though the parts of the motorcycle may be in working order, the overall design poses an unreasonable danger of damage or injury when riding.

In some cases, the defective part is subject to a safety recall. In such cases, the manufacturer must make a reasonable attempt to notify the owner and replace the faulty part.

At Hurley McKenna & Mertz, P.C., we have over two decades of experience litigating defective motorcycle and bicycle liability cases. If a bicycle and motorcycle retailer or manufacturer was aware of a design or manufacturing defect that has resulted in severe injury or death to our client, we may advise you to seek punitive damages to punish the wrongdoer for such misconduct. If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle or motorcycle accident, contact an experienced Chicago defective vehicle attorney at HM&M today for your free consultation.

For a free consultation, contact Hurley McKenna & Mertz, P.C. today at 312-553-4900 or fill out our online form to have a lawyer contact you.

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