A cyclist from Rehoboth, Massachusetts-a town in Bristol County near East Providence-was killed earlier this week while riding a Cervélo bicycle model that, according to reports, had previously been recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The 58-year-old man had apparently suffered head trauma and was pronounced dead shortly after he was transported to Rhode Island Hospital. The crash is still being investigated by the MA State Police, but the cause is believed to be a mechanical failure of the bicycle.
Although reports do not specify the model of bike the man was riding, the CPSC had announced a voluntary recall of about 650 defective 2005 R2.5 road frames in 2006 due to problems undetected during testing. According to the press release, “The bicycle frames can loosen or separate, causing the rider to lose control, fall and be injured.” The defect is explained in more thoroughly on the website of Cervélo Cycles, Inc., a distribution company based in Toronto, Canada.
While we’re on the topic, I think it’s important to distinguish between a “voluntary recall” and a “mandatory recall.” Before February 2010, when new rules went into effect under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, there was really no such thing as a mandatory recall and voluntary recalls were the only real means for the government to pull defective products off the shelves. Since the term “voluntary recall” can be confusing, Consumer Reports wrote an excellent summary of its real meaning and consequences:
Most recalls of defective products are characterized as “voluntary,” a confusing term that can lead consumers to believe that the recall is optional. But voluntary recall is just government-speak for a deal that a manufacturer or retailer of a hazardous product has negotiated with the federal agency in charge of overseeing the safety of that product category.… A mandatory recall can be ordered by the CPSC or a U.S. District Court. The requirement for the new rules was part of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act and was originally proposed by President Barack Obama when he was a Senator.
Along with marketing defects and manufacturing processing error, flawed product design is one major type of product defects that can result in unforeseen injuries and lead to product recalls. Importantly, due to “statute of Limitations” concerns, injured parties have a limited window of time in which to recover from an injury caused by a defective product. If you believe you have been injured by a defective product that was made, marketed, sold, or used in Massachusetts, it is crucial to immediately contact an experienced defective product attorney to inform you of your legal options and provide you with legal advice.
Bicyclist Dead After Rehoboth Crash, TauntonGazette.com, April 10, 2012