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Defective Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle accidents are not always the fault of other motorists or the motorcycle rider. Sometimes, a malfunctioning or defective part or component of the motorcycle can lead to a wreck. Motorcyclists are already extremely vulnerable to injuries due to their exposure to other vehicles and the environment, not being protected within a hard shelled vehicle like other drivers and passengers. When a motorcyclist is riding a motorcycle with defective parts, the chances of sustaining severe injuries are greatly increased.

How Motorcycle Defects Occur

Just as with any product produced through manufacturing, a motorcycle can be made using defective parts in any phase of its manufacture. But these defects are most commonly the result of one or both of these steps:

  • Product design
  • Physical production

Defects in a motorcycle’s design can lead to higher risk of a motorcycle accident. As an example, a motorcycle may not be steady when it is traveling at high speed, due to a defective part that was poorly designed. This will place the rider at higher risk of being thrown off their motorcycle.

Another example in poor design is that of placing the ignition source too close to the fuel tank. Placing heat so close to where fuel is held can increase likelihood of a fire or explosion. A motorcycle designer should know this and such design should not pass through quality control into manufacturing.

Manufacturing defects are most often the result of using substandard materials or those of a quality not good enough to hold parts together or make them perform as designed. This places the motorcyclist at extreme risk for malfunctioning of the bike, leading to an accident.

Common Types of Motorcycle Defects
The most common types of motorcycle defects include:

  • Defective brake pads, often leading to loss of brake power
  • Defective tires that can cause blowouts and loss of control
  • Handlebar defects affecting steering
  • Engine defects causing the engine to cut off suddenly or otherwise malfunction
  • Fuel tank defects leading to sudden loss of engine power, fires or explosion

Fuel System Failures in Motorcycle Accidents

Worldwide leader in the motorcycle industry, Harley Davidson, is not immune to use of defective parts or design in their motorcycles. In September 2008, Harley Davidson processed a recall of over 47,000 motorcycles due to fuel filter shell defects that could crack and cause loss of fuel pressure. Kawasaki also issued a recall in 2008, theirs being for fuel tank leaks leading to fuel-based fires after a collision.

There are many ways a fuel system can fail, leading to a motorcycle accident. Some of these failures can cause loss of control of the bike, leading to an accident. Other failures cause greater injuries after an accident because they prompt the start of fires. Leaking fuel tanks, defective shutoff valves and improperly designed positioning of a fuel tank are all reasons for problems and recall.

Seat Failures in Motorcycle Accidents

Yamaha, another well-known motorcycle brand, issued its largest recall in the brand’s history in 2005. This recall took 190,000 motorcycles into repair, requiring replacement of failing seat brackets that had been proven defective. The seat brackets were indicated to fail during motorcycle riding, causing the rider to fall off the bike. Even a slight problem like a seat bracket can cause a major accident with catastrophic results.

Motorcycle seat failures are often the result of faulty parts causing the seat to loosen or fall off the bike. These defective parts causing seat failure may include:

  • Seat brackets
  • Hinges on adjustable seats
  • Bolts holding the seat to the motorcycle’s frame

Yamaha’s recall focused upon a defective rear mounting bracket that was shown to come loose during use of the motorcycle, causing the seat to fall off the bike’s frame. BMW also had problems with its motorcycle seats, recalling bikes in 2000 due to adjustable backrest malfunctioning. The backrest could come loose during riding of the motorcycle, causing the rider to lose balance and crash.

A defective seat can easily be to blame for a catastrophic motorcycle accident, as seats on a motorcycle are very important for the bike’s stability and the rider’s balance on the vehicle. Single-vehicle accidents of motorcycles are often due to defective parts when there is no other obvious cause, such as speed, weather or driver impairment. Accident investigators can find parts defects after a wreck and determine what was at fault for the crash.

Filing a Defective Motorcycle Accident Claim in Arizona

In Arizona, motorcycle riders are provided with many days of beautiful, clear and sunny riding weather. With so much opportunity to ride their motorcycles, riders are always vulnerable to the problems defective parts can cause during those rides.

If you or someone you love suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident in Arizona and you believe a defective part may have been the cause of that accident, the parts manufacturer or motorcycle brand can be held liable for the injuries and other damages suffered in the wreck. But these types of product liability cases can be very difficult to win. They are complex in nature and require a skilled attorney with a reputation and track record of success.

After a motorcycle accident has changed your life or hurt someone you love, you need the skilled and highly experienced guidance of the motorcycle accident lawyers of Hirsch & Lyon Accident Law. Call Hirsch & Lyon Accident Law now at (602) 691-7278 for a free, no-obligation consultation about your potential claim.


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