‘I saw the front wheel flying through the air’ - Customer files class-action lawsuit against Rad Power Bikes for faulty design

This is the third lawsuit against Rad Power Bikes in two years

RadRunner 3
(Image credit: Henry Lord)

Following a 2022 wrongful death lawsuit and a personal injury and property damage lawsuit, America’s largest e-bike manufacturer, Rad Power Bikes, is again being sued.

Maryland resident Gary E. Mason has filed a class-action lawsuit “on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated” against Rad Power Bikes for manufacturing and distributing a allegedly faulty fork and quick-release skewer design that when factored against the weight of the bike, can allow the front wheel to disengage while riding. 

Mason claims that on May 31, 2022, he was riding a 2021 RadRunner e-bike to run errands when he abruptly braked to avoid a car. As he was thrown over the handlebars, he “saw the front wheel flying through the air.”

As a result of the rapid braking and front wheel disengaging, Mason suffered five broken ribs and a broken clavicle. He needed to spend two days in the trauma ward at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Bethesda and six weeks in physical therapy. 

The lawsuit brought by Mason calls attention to the fact that while Rad Power Bikes’ website claims that the disc brake and quick-release skewer combination makes it easy for consumers to remove the bikes’ wheels for transportation, it’s unlikely consumers will remove the wheels of the 77-pound bike.

What's more, the plaintiff argues that quick release skewers, when not tightened properly, can pop open mid-ride and become tangled in the wheel’s spokes or disc brake rotors, causing the rider to crash or sustain harm.

Mason has hired the FeganScott firm to represent him and other consumers in this class-action lawsuit. Managing partner Elizabeth Fegan released a statement last week saying that Rad Power Bikes knew of the defective design and chose to ignore it for years.

"As e-bikes grew in popularity, Rad Power Bikes put profit over the safety of its riders, marketing e-bikes as a 'safe, family-friendly' mode of transportation," Fegan claims. "For our lead plaintiff, what should've been a routine ride to the grocery story ended at the hospital, where he was treated for five broken ribs and a broken clavicle following a crash on his e-bike after the loss of its front wheel."

Mason seeks a jury trial and "repair, replacement, and/or refund; extended warranty; injunctive relief resolving — and appropriate curative notice regarding — the existence and cause of the defective e-bikes; reimbursement of all expenses associated with the repair or replacement of the e-bikes and damage caused by the Rad e-bikes; and reimbursement of attorney fees and expenses."

In addition, Fegan cited Rad Power Bikes’ rapid growth since its inception in 2007 as a factor in their alleged ongoing negligence toward rider safety.

"Despite their behemoth financial backing and increasing popularity, [Rad Power Bikes] have continued to develop and sell dangerous and improperly designed e-bikes that put riders and passengers, including children, at significant risk of dangerous crashes," the lawsuit reads. 

Fegan says that the suit is intended to "hold Rad accountable for blatantly ignoring its responsibility to protect its consumers, putting their lives, and the lives of others, at risk."

Rad Power Bikes denies the allegations, stating that "as an industry innovator and leader in e-bikes, Rad Power Bikes holds the safety of our riders as our top priority.  We design our ebikes and accessories to exceed safety and quality standards required by US ebike regulations. Because of this, we are confident in the safety and quality of all of our ebikes and components when used and maintained properly. This includes the disc brakes and quick-release mechanism, which have been standard in the industry for years, and used on millions of bikes and e-bikes.

"Rad Power Bikes therefore denies the allegations in this complaint, and the company looks forward to the opportunity to defend itself and its products in this case."

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