When Bad Motorcycles Cause Motorcycle Wrecks

I’ve frequently written about motorcycle accidents. They can be caused by improper motorcycle use, the negligence of other drivers, and road or weather conditions. But there’s another possible, although much rarer, cause of motorcycle crashes — Defective motorcycles. Let’s discuss that.

Motorcycles are complex machines compacted into a small body. They’re also dangerous vehicles. That’s especially true because they provide little protection for riders and are often invisible to other motorists.

Those basic facts make it likely that motorcycle riders will have to make sudden moves, such as braking and maneuvering. It’s thus important that the motorcycle’s design addresses the safety needs of its riders and maximizes riders’ abilities to maintain control in the event of evasive maneuvers or braking. If the bike crashes instead, it may be possible to hold the motorcycle’s manufacturer responsible for any resulting injuries or death.

It’s important to keep in mind the possibility that the motorcycle itself caused or contributed to the crash. Police reports for the crash often indicate that the rider was at fault without diving deeper into the true cause of the accident. To make matters worse, motorcycle riders who were not at fault for the accident then encounter a legal system with preconceived ideas about motorcycles and biases against motorcyclists. Riders need to be armed with the knowledge necessary to make people consider that there were other causes of the crash, perhaps the bike itself.

A number of crucial motorcycle components can fail because of design or manufacturing flaws. If you’re in a motorcycle crash and there’s any thought that the bike itself failed in some manner and caused or contributed to the wreck, it’s essential to preserve the bike and any parts in an enclosed area so that an expert witness can inspect it later. Common issues with motorcycles include:

  • Brakes – Properly functioning brakes are supposed to slow or stop the motorcycle to avoid collisions.

  • Faulty Suspension System – A motorcycle’s suspension system absorbs and minimizes the shock from bumps and uneven terrain so that the rider isn’t being rattled around. The suspension system thus helps maintain control of the bike. Defective suspension systems can cause a loss of motorcycle control.

  • Wheel Alignment – A motorcycle’s tires must be balanced. Misaligned tires can cause the rider to lose control and crash.

  • Defective Tires — A sudden tire blowout, especially the front tire, leads to a substantial likelihood of a crash, which increases with the motorcycle’s speed at the time of the blowout.

  • Defective Throttles – A motorcycle that suddenly surges ahead because more power is delivered than the rider was expecting can cause a loss of control and an accident because the bike’s moving too fast for the road or hits something, such as a slower moving vehicle ahead of the motorcycle.

  • Handlebar Defects - Defective handle bars can lead to wobbling, uncontrollable shaking, and a loss of control.

  • Improper Assembly At The Factory — These incredibly complex machines, carrying people through the open air at the same speeds as four-wheel vehicles, must be properly assembled so that nothing falls apart while they’re in the road.

It’s vital to immediately contact a motorcycle accident lawyer if you believe that the motorcycle itself caused or contributed to the crash. Extra steps, beyond that for a standard personal injury claim, must be taken since the bike itself is not evidence. The failure to do so can make it impossible to prove your defective motorcycle claim.

Harley Erbe