Legal Brief: Beware Handlebar Defect in Box Store Bikes

, , , , ,

If you bought a discount bike from a major bike store, it may have a potentially fatal defect. Many bikes have caps on the ends of the metal handlebars, but some forego the caps to save money, and the sharp metal ends can injure cyclists.

In this video, attorney Trent Shuping explains a case he handled where this handlebar defect nearly killed a young girl.

Video Transcript:

Hi I’m Leslie Rhode for Ask The Lawyers and this is an legal brief. If you’re looking to buy a new bicycle, you may be tempted to buy a cheaper model from somewhere like a big box store. You might save a few dollars, but experts say you’re taking a big risk in terms of your safety. Some of these bike manufacturers cut corners during production, which can have disastrous results for cyclists.

One way they cut those corners is by not capping the ends of the handlebars. Underneath the rubber hand grips are sharp metal tubes, and most bike makers put caps on the end so that the sharp metal doesn’t stab the rider.

Trent Shuping is an injury attorney based in Atlanta, Georgia, and one of his clients was a 12-year-old girl who was riding a bicycle with this defect. She fell, and the metal handlebar impaled her skin and severed her femoral vein. She nearly bled to death, but fortunately she did survive. Her family sued the manufacturer on the grounds that it should have adopted industry standards and capped the metal tubes.

The attorney Shuping said: “Manufacturers can eliminate the risk of an impalement injury with a solution that has been commonly used in the bicycle industry for decades: Handlebar plugs. It only costs a couple pennies per bike, he says, to add the plugs to the handlebars. Instead the manufacturer put profits over human safety and this little girl suffered a painful and traumatic injury as a result.”

Shuping secured compensation for the family to cover the financial and emotional costs of the injury. He urged anyone shopping for a new bicycle to make sure that the bike has handlebar plugs, and if your current bike does not have those plugs, get rid of it or add plugs before an injury occurs. I’m Leslie Rhode for and this has been an legal brief.

This video is for informational purposes only. In some states, this video may be deemed Attorney Advertising. The choice of lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.