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Trek is Facing a Lawsuit Over Allegedly Misleading Bike Helmet Safety Claims

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Trek is Facing a Lawsuit Over Allegedly Misleading Bike Helmet Safety Claims

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Bicycle and cycling gear company Trek is facing a class action lawsuit over allegations that their Bontrager WaveCel Helmets were falsely marketed in regard to their effectiveness.

New York bicyclist Andrew Glancey is the lead plaintiff in this lawsuit; in the official complaint, he alleges that Trek’s claim about their WaveCel helmet being up to 48 times more effective at preventing concussions is false, deceptive, and misleading.

According to Trek’s website, WaveCel is a “revolution in helmet safety technology”.

Unlike the foam used to pad traditional bike helmets, WaveCel is a material made from a collapsible structure of wave-shaped cells that “works like a crumple zone that helps to absorb the force of impact before it reaches your head.” These helmets, touted by the company for their effectiveness at preventing concussions, range in cost from $99.99 for children’s helmets to $299.99 for adults. This makes the Bontrager WaveCel helmets among the most expensive on the website, with other helmets ranging from approximately $50 to $200.

This lawsuit alleges that the WaveCel helmets are only marginally better than other traditional helmets offered at a much lower cost.

The allegations in this lawsuit revolve around the idea that although the WaveCel helmets do provide safety to their wearers, they do not provide the level of safety advertised by the company. The complaint further alleges that the tests performed to prove the helmet’s level of effectiveness did not even use an actual Bontrager WaveCel helmet; instead, these tests used a Scott ARX helmet modified with WaveCel technology.

The central claim in this lawsuit is that Trek allegedly “conducted unreliable research for marketing purposes.”

If this allegation is true, it would imply a level of intention on behalf of the bicycle manufacturer. WaveCel helmets that were marketed as “48 times safer” than the average bicycle helmet reportedly did not live up to this claim when a study was performed by MIPS, an authority on bike-helmet safety. MIPS stands for “multi-directional impact protection system” and refers to the type of protection needed to prevent injury to a rider’s head when they fall at an angle—a particularly common way for riders to fall.

No injuries have been linked to the WaveCel helmets.

It’s important to note that missing among the allegations in this lawsuit is a mention of any physical injury. As of yet, no injury claim has come forward regarding the helmets in question. Considering that the complaint itself insinuates the helmets are effective, just not as effective as advertised, this is probably a relief to anyone who has purchased a WaveCel helmet for themself or their family. In fact, investigations into injuries associated with traditional foam-lined helmets are ongoing, whereas the technology used in the WaveCel helmets seems to be generally accepted. The damages sought for misleading marketing claims which allegedly inspired bikers to purchase these helmets for more than they otherwise would have amount to approximately $5 million.

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