Trek Bicycle has recalled nearly one million bikes in the U.S. and Canada due to a problem with the front wheel braking system on the bicycles that could lead to a crash, causing serious injuries. Trek issued the recall following reports of at least three accidents caused by the front wheel defect, including one crash that left the rider permanently paralyzed.
The Trek bicycle recall includes all models sold from late 1999 until 2015 and are priced between about $480 to $1,650. The recalled bicycles are equipped with front disc brakes and a black or silver quick-release lever on the front wheel hub. According to Trek, the quick-release lever on these bicycles can come into contact with the front disc brake assembly, causing the wheel to completely separate from the bike or causing the wheel to come to a stop instantly. Bicycles that are equipped with front quick-release levers that do not open a full 180 degrees were not included in the recall notice.
In a statement about the recalled bicycles, Trek stated that it first learned about problems with the quick-release level while investigating a serious bicycle accident that occurred in 2014. The rider in this accident—who was using one of the recalled Trek bicycles—suffered injuries resulting in quadriplegia and permanent paralysis. Trek has already settled a lawsuit filed against the company by the paralyzed rider, but declined to disclose the terms of the settlement. Two other accidents were also reported involving the recalled bicycles, one involving facial injuries to the rider and the other causing a broken wrist.
The quick-release skewer linked to the accident risk with Trek bicycles is produced by a number of manufacturers for hybrid-style bikes and mountain bikes and is sold under many brand names. A spokesman for Trek said that because the quick-release lever found in the recalled bicycles is used by many other manufactures, the problems identified in Trek bicycles may also affect bikes sold by other companies. Trek says that it has notified bicycle owners in Europe and Asia of the recall, but it is unknown whether any bicycles sold in those countries will also be recalled.
Trek has advised customers who purchased one of the recalled bicycles to stop using it immediately and contact a Trek bicycle retailer for a free installation of a replacement front wheel quick-release lever. Many bicycle shops have already begun gearing up for the flood of repair requests they expect in response to the recall and have already received replacement quick-release levers. In addition to repairing problems with the front disc brake system on its bikes, Trek says that it will provide owners of one of the bicycles involved in the recall with a $20 coupon good towards Bontranger merchandise, a brand owned by the company.
The latest recall is believed to be the largest in Trek’s history. In June 2014, the company recalled more than 128,000 bicycles equipped with SR Suntour Front Forks because of risk of injuries due to a crash.
Lawsuits Filed Over Trek Bicycle Recall
As we mentioned earlier, Trek has already settled at least one lawsuit filed against the company over the recent recall. Considering the unprecedented scope of problems with the front wheel braking system on the recalled Trek bicycles, it is possible that many more lawsuits may be filed over injuries suffered by cyclists using Trek bicycles as news of the recall spreads.
The Trek recall highlights the difficulty faced by safety regulators in protecting consumers from injury due to dangerous products. Despite the efforts of federal regulators to keep consumers safe, thousands are hospitalized each year because of injuries caused by dangerous consumer goods.
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