The dad and mom of a lady 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 swimsuit, Kaye and Jonathan Steinsapir, the dad and mom 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 velocity whereas going downhill.
The swimsuit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, additionally argues that Rad Power Bikes engaged in “inappropriate marketing of e-bikes to children,” including that the corporate did not “adequately warn about the dangers of children operating e-bikes.”
In an announcement, a Rad Power Bikes spokesman stated: “The entire Rad Power Bikes team extends its deepest condolences to the Steinsapir family on the tragic loss of Molly Steinsapir. We are aware of the lawsuit that the family has filed. Rad Power Bikes does not comment on pending litigation.”
The accident occurred Jan. 31, 2021, whereas Molly was using with a pal 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 following 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 1000’s of instances, and a web based neighborhood fashioned across the hashtag #TeamMolly.
When Molly died Feb. 15, her loss of life 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 individuals 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 proprietor’s handbook for the mannequin, a warning says that “the RadRunner is designed for use by persons 18 years old 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 contains images 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 pupil in Humboldt County, Calif. Now based mostly in Seattle, the corporate has raised greater than $300 million from buyers together with Fidelity Management & Research in funding rounds.
Sales of e-bikes within the U.S. have elevated sharply in recent times, to an estimated 804,000 in 2021 from 152,000 in 2016, in accordance with the National Bicycle Dealers Association, an trade commerce group. A examine printed within the peer-reviewed journal Injury Prevention in 2020 discovered that e-bike riders had been extra prone to require hospitalization after accidents than these utilizing handbook bikes. “E-bikes are clearly associated with more serious injury,” stated Dr. Charles DiMaggio, a professor of surgical procedure at New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine and an creator of the examine.
The Steinsapir household’s lawsuit additionally names Giro Sport Design, the producer of the helmet that Molly was carrying. 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 loss of life, she didn’t reveal particulars of the accident. The lawsuit supplies a extra full account.
Molly and an 11-year-old pal climbed aboard a RadRunner e-bike that belonged to the pal’s 13-year-old sister, the lawsuit says. The pal was working the bike as Molly rode atop a flat rack over its again wheel, a function that “invites a passenger to sit in tandem,” in accordance with the grievance.
The two ladies rode to the highest of a hill that they almost definitely wouldn’t have been capable of climb with out the bike’s electrical increase, the lawsuit says. After the pal turned the bike round to go again down the hill, the bike “began to rapidly pick up speed, and it began shaking,” in accordance with the grievance. The pal “applied the rear brake, but the bicycle did not slow. She then pulled the front brake, but the bike did not stop, and the front wheel began to wobble.” She misplaced management, and the ladies had been thrown. The lawsuit claims that the Rad Runner’s “disc brakes in conjunction with a quick-release mechanism for detaching the front wheel” is “a known safety hazard” within the bike trade.
Molly lay unconscious within the street. 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 shoppers. After his daughter’s loss of life, 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 want to better understand what happened, why, and how future tragedies like this can be avoided,” Mr. Steinsapir wrote within the letter, which is included within the lawsuit. “We urge you to reach out to us and seek to have a human conversation and not 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 dad and mom stated they felt obligated to strive to ensure no different household would expertise this sort of loss.
“No amount of money can bring back our daughter,” Ms. Steinsapir stated. “But we can no longer sit silent.”