Motorcycle Recalls

When you buy a motorcycle, you trust that the motorcycle will not only provide you with the speed, handling, and exhilarating travel experience that you desire, but will be designed and engineered for safety.

Unfortunately, motorcycle manufacturers sometimes place profit before safety causing dangerous and defective bikes to be produced. A manufacturer recall may come too late. Motorcyclists who are riding defective bikes are at risk of suffering serious and even fatal injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, head and neck injuries, broken bones, and severe burns.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured by a defective motorcycle that has been recalled, the motorcycle attorneys at Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers can help. Our motorcycle attorneys are not only the best in Boston, but many are bikers who bring a unique skill set and their passion for biking to each and every motorcycle injury case.

Some Facts About Motorcycle Recalls

If a motorcycle is found to contain any kind of defect or hazard, the manufacturer can issue a recall. In most cases, the motorcycle owner is asked to take the recalled motorcycle to an approved bike shop for part replacement or other repair required to correct the safety issue.

Motorcycle recalls are typically processed through the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration. NHTSA can order a manufacturer to issue a recall. When this happens, the manufacturer is required to issue a report listing the following:

  • The motorcycle brand, model number and year
  • The type of defect
  • The remedy for the defect
  • Occurrences that prompted the recall
  • Scheduling information for the recall

Manufacturers must notify registered motorcycle owners by first class mail within 60 days of notifying NHTSA of its recall decision. While a manufacturer might have an easy time of contacting the original purchaser of the bike, the company might have a harder time tracking down an individual who purchased the bike secondhand. Companies usually take out ads in trade magazines and issue press releases to spread the word about a recall, especially when the defect is particularly dangerous.

Motorcycle manufacturers are required to correct any safety problems without passing the cost on to the consumer.

How Do I Know If My Motorcycle Has Been Recalled?

If your motorcycle has been recalled, you should receive a notification from the manufacturer by mail or e-mail. You should follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding repairs. Motorcycle owners are responsible for responding to any recalls in a timely manner.

Even if you haven’t been notified that your bike has been recalled, it’s a good idea to stay on top of any recalls by performing a search on NHTSA’s website on a regular basis.

It is important to note that it is not necessary for a recall to be issued to hold a motorcycle manufacturer liable for an accident and related injuries. It is possible that your motorcycle might have a defect that is specific to your motorcycle.

However, if a recall has been issued, the recall can be used as a piece of evidence to prove your case.

Who Can I Sue If I’ve Been Injured by a Recalled Motorcycle?

Multiple parties can be held responsible for injuries caused by a defective motorcycle. For example, you may be able to sue:

  • The motorcycle manufacturer
  • The tire manufacturer or distributor
  • Parts manufacturers or distributors
  • The company that designed the motorcycle
  • The bike shop that sold the motorcycle

Motorcycle companies have a duty to sell and distribute parts that are not only free from defects but are safe. Make no mistake—proving that a motorcycle defect caused an accident and injured a biker can be difficult. That is why the motorcycle attorneys at the Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers work with highly skilled investigators and other experts who can collect evidence to prove that the motorcycle manufacturer and any other at-fault parties acted negligently and caused your injuries.

Motorcycle defect lawsuits are a type of product liability lawsuit. Most cases hinge on whether the injured motorcyclist (or the motorcyclist’s family in a wrongful death case) can prove that the motorcycle company knew, or should have known, that the motorcycle was defective at the time of sale.

Common Recalled Motorcycle Defects

While any motorcycle part can be defective and cause a serious accident or even fatal injuries, some defects are more common:

Cracked frames: Motorcycle frames are typically made of steel or aluminum because of their strength and are meant to withstand bumps and other stress that comes with riding. When frames are defective, they can crack and cause dangerous structural problems.

Engines: Defective engines can stop without warning, sending a biker sailing over the handlebars and onto the roadway. These accidents can be especially serious if the biker is traveling on a busy roadway when the engine cuts out.

Tires: When tires are flawed, the motorcyclist is at risk of losing control of the bike or wiping out.

Fuel tanks: A gas tank that leaks can cause an explosion and serious burns to the biker.

Steering: Defective handlebars and steering mechanisms can cause motorcycles to become unstable or swerve outside a lane and into oncoming traffic.

Brakes: Brakes that are unresponsive, seize, or malfunction in other ways are often the cause of fatal motorcycle accidents.

Recent Motorcycle Recalls

Each year, dozens of recalls are issued in the United States affecting tens of thousands of motorcycles. You might be surprised to learn that recalls are not limited to inexpensive bikes. Even high-end motorcycles such as those sold by Harley-Davidson, Ducati, and other prestigious motorcycle makers are not immune to dangerous defects that have the potential to injure innocent motorcyclists.

Here is a look at some recent motorcycle recalls:

- Indian Motorcycle Co. recalled certain 2019 Chieftain motorcycles over an issue with the taillights. The taillights were too bright, which could cause drivers to have difficulties distinguishing the brake light from the taillight.

- BMW of North America recalled certain 2019 C 400 X, 2018-2020 G 310 GS and 2017-2020 G 310 R motorcycles and scooters because the front and rear brake caliper pistons are prone to corrosion. This issue could cause the piston to stick or drag and affect brake performance.

- American Honda Motor Co. recalled certain 2019 CB300R, 2018 CBR300R, 2018 CRF250L, 2018 CRF250L Rally and 2018-2019 CMX300 motorcycles because a part on the transmission’s shaft may detach and cause gear misalignment. When a gear is misaligned, a motorcycle can shift from neutral into gear causing it to move or lurch unexpectedly. The misaligned gear could also seize the engine and rear tire when the motorcycle is moving.

- Suzuki Motor of America recalled certain 2018-2019 GSX250R motorcycles. The motorcycles were susceptible to water intrusion that could corrode the rear brake light switch and cause the brake light to either fail to illuminate or stay illuminated when the brake was not engaged.

- Ducati North America recalled certain 2018-2019 Panigale V4, Panigale V4 S, Panigale Speciale and 2019 Panigale R motorcycles for a defect that allowed excessive pressure to build up in the fuel tank and can cause fuel to spray when the fuel cap was opened. If left uncorrected, the defect could lead to an increased risk of fire.

- Harley-Davidson Motor Co. recalled certain 2017-2018 Police Road King, Road King, Road King Special, Electra Glide Ultra Classic, Ultra Limited, Fat Boy S and numerous other motorcycle models. The bikes had a faulty secondary clutch actuator cylinder that had the potential to leak fluid internally and cause the clutch master cylinder to be unable to generate enough lift to disengage the clutch. If the clutch could not be disengaged, the motorcyclist could lose control of the bike.

Don’t forget that motorcycle helmets and accessories that are defective or fail to comply with safety standards are also subject to recall.

To see if your motorcycle has been affected by these or other recalls, you can search NHTSA’s website for details, including the year, make and model numbers of the recalled motorcycles.

To learn more about how our motorcycle recall attorneys can help with an injury claim, contact us today at (617) 777-7777 or through our online form.

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