Within the go well with, Kaye and Jonathan Steinsapir, the mother and father of Molly Steinsapir, who died final yr at age 12, declare that flaws within the bike’s design made it tough for riders to decelerate and cease because the bike gained velocity whereas going downhill.
The go well with, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courtroom, additionally argues that Rad Energy Bikes engaged in “inappropriate advertising and marketing of e-bikes to youngsters,” including that the corporate did not “adequately warn in regards to the risks of kids working e-bikes.”
In a press release, a Rad Energy Bikes spokesman stated: “The complete Rad Energy Bikes workforce extends its deepest condolences to the Steinsapir household on the tragic lack of Molly Steinsapir. We’re conscious of the lawsuit that the household has filed. Rad Energy Bikes doesn’t touch upon pending litigation.”
The accident occurred Jan. 31, 2021, whereas Molly was driving with a good friend in Los Angeles. Later that day, in a Twitter publish despatched from Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Heart, her mom referred to as for assist: “Please. Please. Please. Everybody PRAY for my daughter Molly.”
Over the subsequent 16 days, Ms. Steinsapir continued posting on Twitter as Molly, who had a traumatic mind harm, remained within the hospital’s pediatric intensive care unit. Ms. Steinsapir’s tweets have been shared lots of of hundreds of occasions, and a web-based group shaped across the hashtag #TeamMolly.
When Molly died Feb. 15, her dying set off a wave of on-line dialogue about grief and mourning almost a yr into the Covid-19 pandemic, which by then had killed greater than 475,000 folks within the U.S.
Molly was a passenger on a RadRunner bike, made by Rad Energy, when she had her accident. On web page 49 of the 57-page proprietor’s guide for the mannequin, a warning says that “the RadRunner is designed to be used by individuals 18 years outdated and older.” On its web site, Rad Energy Bikes describes a few of its bikes as appropriate for riders who’re 4 toes 10 inches or taller. It additionally consists of images of kids as passengers on its bikes. With out being pedaled, the corporate’s e-bikes can go 20 miles per hour.
Rad Energy Bikes was based in 2007 by Mike Radenbaugh, when he was a highschool scholar in Humboldt County, Calif. Now based mostly in Seattle, the corporate has raised greater than $300 million from traders together with Constancy Administration & Analysis in funding rounds.
Gross sales of e-bikes within the U.S. have elevated sharply lately, to an estimated 804,000 in 2021 from 152,000 in 2016, in line with the Nationwide Bicycle Sellers Affiliation, an business commerce group. A research revealed within the peer-reviewed journal Harm Prevention in 2020 discovered that e-bike riders have been extra more likely to require hospitalization after accidents than these utilizing guide bikes. “E-bikes are clearly related to extra severe harm,” stated Dr. Charles DiMaggio, a professor of surgical procedure at New York College’s Grossman College of Medication and an writer of the research.
The Steinsapir household’s lawsuit additionally names Giro Sport Design, the producer of the helmet that Molly was sporting. Vista Out of doors, the dad or mum firm of Giro, declined to remark.
At the same time as Ms. Steinsapir shared tales and images of her daughter on social media since her dying, she didn’t reveal particulars of the accident. The lawsuit supplies a extra full account.
Molly and an 11-year-old good friend climbed aboard a RadRunner e-bike that belonged to the good friend’s 13-year-old sister, the lawsuit says. The good friend was working the bike as Molly rode atop a flat rack over its again wheel, a function that “invitations a passenger to sit down in tandem,” in line with the grievance.
The 2 women rode to the highest of a hill that they almost certainly wouldn’t have been in a position to climb with out the bike’s electrical increase, the lawsuit says. After the good friend turned the bike round to move again down the hill, the bike “started to quickly decide up velocity, and it started shaking,” in line with the grievance. The good friend “utilized the rear brake, however the bicycle didn’t sluggish. She then pulled the entrance brake, however the bike didn’t cease, and the entrance wheel started to wobble.” She misplaced management, and the women have been thrown. The lawsuit claims that the Rad Runner’s “disc brakes together with a quick-release mechanism for detaching the entrance wheel” is “a identified security hazard” within the bike business.
Molly lay unconscious within the highway. Paramedics took her to the hospital, the place she underwent a number of mind surgical procedures. She by no means regained consciousness, the grievance says.
Molly’s father, a lawyer, has represented the property of Michael Jackson, amongst different leisure business purchasers. After his daughter’s dying, Mr. Steinsapir wrote to Mr. Radenbaugh, telling him about his daughter and including that he and his spouse, additionally a lawyer, hoped to keep away from litigation.
“We wish to higher perceive what occurred, why, and the way future tragedies like this may be averted,” Mr. Steinsapir wrote within the letter, which is included within the lawsuit. “We urge you to succeed in out to us and search to have a human dialog and never a lawyerly one.” The lawsuit says that the corporate’s response to Mr. Steinsapir’s letter “was not productive.” The household has requested for damages in an quantity to be decided by a jury.
In an interview, Molly’s mother and father stated they felt obligated to strive to ensure no different household would expertise this sort of loss.
“No amount of cash can carry again our daughter,” Ms. Steinsapir stated. “However we will not sit silent.”