A motorcycle is a thrilling, inexpensive and fuel-efficient way to get around, but the tradeoff is that it involves unique risks that aren’t present with enclosed vehicles. Motorcycles riders are left much more vulnerable than car or truck drivers when unexpected malfunctions occur. What are some of the most common motorcycle malfunctions, and what legal remedies do you have when the bike does something it shouldn’t have done?
Common Motorcycle Malfunctions
If any component of the braking system fails, it is very likely to cause an accident when the bike rider is unexpectedly unable to slow down or stop properly. Possible points of failure include faulty brake pads, incorrect adjustments or installation by a mechanic, or even an underlying systemic problem with that particular bike model.
Electrical System Issues
Manufacturing defects can cause the bike to lose power unexpectedly and stall out the engine. For example, Honda recalled 45,153 of their motorcycles in 2015 due to sealant being applied incorrectly to the starter relay switch, potentially allowing moisture into the electrical system. The company also recalled 22,000 additional bikes in 2016 for a defective sensor that could fail due to vibration of the engine.
A tire blowout while riding is a very serious danger. Manufacturing defects can cause one portion of the tire to wear unevenly, or there may be microscopic leaks and cracking that are not immediately visible to the naked eye. Proper labeling of the air pressure level requirements of each tire is also important for rider safety, and companies can be held liable if they provide incorrect information.
Problems with the clutch usually manifest as difficulty in changing gears. Small leaks of hydraulic fluid are a particularly troublesome form of clutch defect that develop slowly and may not show obvious signs of a problem until the clutch fails completely.
Motorcycle Malfunction Laws in Minnesota
Companies that manufacture motorcycles are subject to strict liability when it comes to issues of safety. This means that they do not necessarily have to be found negligent to be liable for a safety issue.
Even if a motorcycle does malfunction due to a safety issue, riders are still required to take certain safety precautions by Minnesota law. These include only operating a motorcycle with a valid driver’s license and motorcycle endorsement, having proof of liability insurance on their person or on the bike while riding, and wearing eye protection. Motorcycle riders driving on a learner’s permit are subject to further safety regulations such as wearing a DOT-approved helmet, not riding after dark, not riding on freeways and never carrying any passengers. All riders are also subject to the common rules of the road such as obeying speed limits and not operating the bike while legally impaired. While failing to meet these safety requirements won’t let a manufacturer of a defective part or bike off the hook, it does complicate the case somewhat and may limit the amount of damages that can be collected.
Damages can potentially be collected from the manufacturer of a faulty bike or a faulty individual part, as well as from maintenance shops or technicians who perform improper work that contributes to failure of the normal operation of the vehicle. Minnesota residents can claim damages for their medical treatment, damage to the bike, damage to other vehicles or property, and loss of income caused due to inability to work because of an injury sustained in an accident.
Have you experienced an accident or damage to your vehicle that you believe to have been caused by a faulty mechanical part or by improper maintenance work? Contact us today to learn more about the legal remedies available to you. The assistance of an experienced lawyer is vital in obtaining the fair compensation you deserve when the failure of another party to maintain proper safety standards causes damage to you or others.