Bicycle Accidents usually occur when a cyclist is hit by a vehicle. However, a large number of accidents are caused by faulty equipment. In a recent blog I wrote about Trek Steer Tubes and a number of riders that had problems with broken steer tubes. How a company goes about acknowledging a problem and preventing future problems can go a long way in both preventing injuries and gaining goodwill.
The debate has been around since the days of the Ford Pinto, and the leaking gas Tank. A company will decide whether it is more cost effective to recall and replace all of the defective parts on the market or simply sit back and wait for the injuries to occur and pay the lawsuits as they come.
I recently had my own experience in dealing with two popular companies.. The first was with TREK. A company everyone knows because of Lance Armstrong. A large company, with a long history of producing bicycles. A client requested I call Trek for a warranty issue because his frame was clearly cracked. Despite the obvious signs of a cracked frame Trek refused to honor the claim, and refused to warranty the bike. Trek insisted the problem was cosmetic. My client, rightfully so, is scared to ride his bicycle. Similar to the reaction with the broken Steer Tubes, TREK refused to accept responsibility.
On the opposite end of the spectrum was my dealings with EDGE composites, a small wheel and component manufacturer in Utah. I purchased a set of Edge wheels and rode them in a race in North Carolina. The heat from the braking caused the wheels to warp. This was a known problem with clincher wheels, but this particular set was a tubular.I contacted Edge and sent the wheels to them for inspection. Edge immediately acknowledged the problem, and offered to refund my money, send me another set of tubulars , or even better-Acknowledged a potential defect and said they were testing out a new set of carbon Tubulars, and they would send me a pair of carbon clinchers to ride until the new tubulars were out on the market.
Edge created Goodwill and avoided a potential injury by taking a defective product off the market.
As a bicycle accident lawyer, I have handled a number of cases against component manufacturers and found that the larger companies are much less willing to accept responsibility. Bigger is not always better.