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Paralyzing injury leads to recall of almost 1 million bicycles

Every consumer expects that a product purchased from a store or other retailer will do its job or meet its expected task without creating any danger or hazard to the user. Unfortunately, not all manufacturers meet this standard and a small percentage of products go to market with defects in design or manufacturing that can threaten consumers' lives. One recent case of a defective design led to a products liability recall of almost one million defective mountain or trail bikes in Canada and the United States, including New Jersey.

In this case, the bikes designed and manufactured by the Trek Bicycle Corporation of Wisconsin were recalled after one biker was paralyzed when a quick-release lever on the bike's front wheel hub failed. Normally, the lever is limited to 180 degrees of rotation; in the case of the recalled bikes, the levers rotated more than 180 degrees, which made them capable of coming into contact with the bikes' front brakes. If that happens, the bike can come to an abrupt stop or the levers can cause complete wheel separation. This defective design allegedly led to one biker becoming a permanent quadriplegic following an accident.

According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, 900,000 bikes were sold in the United States and 98,000 were sold in Canada. All models of the bicycles manufactured by Trek from 2000 to 2015 with quick-release levers that rotate more than 180 degrees are subject to the recall. Bikes with quick-release levers that do not open farther than 180 degrees are not part of the recall. Consumers are advised to get new quick-release levers installed from authorized Trek retailers before using the bikes. The bicycles cost from $480 to $1,650.

Three other accidents have been reported to date. Two accident victims suffered facial injuries and wrist fractures.

Source: USA Today, "Nearly 1 million bikes recalled after rider paralyzed," Derry London, April 22, 2015

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