The parents of a girl who died after an e-bike accident filed a wrongful-death lawsuit on Monday towards the Seattle e-bike firm Rad Power Bikes.
In the go well with, Kaye and Jonathan Steinsapir, the mother and father of Molly Steinsapir, who died final yr at age 12, declare that flaws within the bike’s design made it tough for riders to decelerate and cease because the bike gained pace whereas going downhill.
The go well with, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, additionally argues that Rad Power Bikes engaged in “inappropriate advertising and marketing of e-bikes to kids,” including that the corporate did not “adequately warn in regards to the risks of kids working e-bikes.”
In a press release, a Rad Power Bikes spokesman mentioned: “The complete Rad Power Bikes staff extends its deepest condolences to the Steinsapir household on the tragic lack of Molly Steinsapir. We are conscious of the lawsuit that the household has filed. Rad Power Bikes doesn’t touch upon pending litigation.”
The accident occurred Jan. 31, 2021, whereas Molly was using with a buddy in Los Angeles. Later that day, in a Twitter post despatched from Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, her mom known as for assist: “Please. Please. Please. Everyone PRAY for my daughter Molly.”
Over the subsequent 16 days, Ms. Steinsapir continued posting on Twitter as Molly, who had a traumatic mind harm, remained within the hospital’s pediatric intensive care unit. Ms. Steinsapir’s tweets had been shared a whole lot of hundreds of instances, and a web based neighborhood fashioned across the hashtag #TeamMolly.
When Molly died Feb. 15, her demise set off a wave of on-line dialogue about grief and mourning practically a yr into the Covid-19 pandemic, which by then had killed greater than 475,000 people within the U.S.
Molly was a passenger on a RadRunner bike, made by Rad Power, when she had her accident. On web page 49 of the 57-page owner’s manual for the mannequin, a warning says that “the RadRunner is designed to be used by individuals 18 years outdated and older.” On its web site, Rad Power Bikes describes a few of its bikes as appropriate for riders who’re 4 toes 10 inches or taller. It additionally consists of pictures of kids as passengers on its bikes. Without being pedaled, the corporate’s e-bikes can go 20 miles per hour.
Rad Power Bikes was based in 2007 by Mike Radenbaugh, when he was a highschool scholar in Humboldt County, Calif. Now based mostly in Seattle, the corporate has raised greater than $300 million from traders together with Fidelity Management & Research in funding rounds.
Sales of e-bikes within the U.S. have elevated sharply lately, to an estimated 804,000 in 2021 from 152,000 in 2016, based on the National Bicycle Dealers Association, an trade commerce group. A study printed within the peer-reviewed journal Injury Prevention in 2020 discovered that e-bike riders had been extra more likely to require hospitalization after accidents than these utilizing guide bikes. “E-bikes are clearly related to extra critical harm,” mentioned Dr. Charles DiMaggio, a professor of surgical procedure at New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine and an writer of the research.
The Steinsapir household’s lawsuit additionally names Giro Sport Design, the producer of the helmet that Molly was sporting. Vista Outdoor, the dad or mum firm of Giro, declined to remark.
Even as Ms. Steinsapir shared tales and pictures of her daughter on social media since her demise, she didn’t reveal particulars of the accident. The lawsuit offers a extra full account.
Molly and an 11-year-old buddy climbed aboard a RadRunner e-bike that belonged to the buddy’s 13-year-old sister, the lawsuit says. The buddy was working the bike as Molly rode atop a flat rack over its again wheel, a function that “invitations a passenger to take a seat in tandem,” based on the grievance.
The two women rode to the highest of a hill that they more than likely wouldn’t have been capable of climb with out the bike’s electrical enhance, the lawsuit says. After the buddy turned the bike round to move again down the hill, the bike “started to quickly choose up pace, and it started shaking,” based on the grievance. The buddy “utilized the rear brake, however the bicycle didn’t sluggish. She then pulled the entrance brake, however the bike didn’t cease, and the entrance wheel started to wobble.” She misplaced management, and the women had been thrown. The lawsuit claims that the Rad Runner’s “disc brakes along side a quick-release mechanism for detaching the entrance wheel” is “a recognized security hazard” within the bike trade.
Molly lay unconscious within the highway. Paramedics took her to the hospital, the place she underwent a number of mind surgical procedures. She by no means regained consciousness, the grievance says.
Molly’s father, a lawyer, has represented the property of Michael Jackson, amongst different leisure trade purchasers. After his daughter’s demise, Mr. Steinsapir wrote to Mr. Radenbaugh, telling him about his daughter and including that he and his spouse, additionally a lawyer, hoped to keep away from litigation.
“We wish to higher perceive what occurred, why, and the way future tragedies like this may be averted,” Mr. Steinsapir wrote within the letter, which is included within the lawsuit. “We urge you to succeed in out to us and search to have a human dialog and never a lawyerly one.” The lawsuit says that the corporate’s response to Mr. Steinsapir’s letter “was not productive.” The household has requested for damages in an quantity to be decided by a jury.
In an interview, Molly’s mother and father mentioned they felt obligated to attempt to ensure no different household would expertise this type of loss.
“No sum of money can carry again our daughter,” Ms. Steinsapir mentioned. “But we will now not sit silent.”
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