‘Team Molly’ Parents Sue E-Bike Company Over Daughter’s Death

The mother and father of a lady who died after an e-bike accident filed a wrongful-death lawsuit on Monday in opposition to the Seattle e-bike firm Rad Power Bikes.

In 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 troublesome for riders to decelerate and cease because the bike gained velocity whereas going downhill.

The go well with, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, additionally argues that Rad Power Bikes engaged in “inappropriate advertising of e-bikes to kids,” including that the corporate didn’t “adequately warn in regards to the risks of youngsters working e-bikes.”

In an announcement, a Rad Power Bikes spokesperson stated: “The total Rad Power Bikes group extends its deepest condolences to the Steinsapir household on the tragic lack of Molly Steinsapir. We are conscious of the lawsuit that the household has filed. Rad Power Bikes doesn’t touch upon pending litigation.”

The accident occurred Jan. 31, 2021, whereas Molly was driving with a pal in Los Angeles. Later that day, in a Twitter post despatched from Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, her mom referred to as for assist: “Please. Please. Please. Everyone PRAY for my daughter Molly.”

Over the following 16 days, Ms. Steinsapir continued posting on Twitter as Molly, who had a traumatic mind damage, remained within the hospital’s pediatric intensive care unit. Ms. Steinsapir’s tweets had been shared a whole bunch of 1000’s of instances, and a web-based group shaped across the hashtag #TeamMolly.

When Molly died Feb. 15, her loss of life 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 US

Molly was a passenger on a RadRunner bike, made by Rad Power, when she had her accident. On web page 49 of the 57-page proprietor’s handbook for the mannequin, a warning says that “the RadRunner is designed to be used by individuals 18 years outdated and older.”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 Power Bikes describes a few of its bikes as appropriate for riders who’re 4 ft 10 inches or taller. It additionally contains pictures of youngsters as passengers on its bikes. Without being pedaled, the corporate’s e-bikes can go 20 miles per hour.

Rad Power 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 buyers together with Fidelity Management & Research in funding rounds.

Sales of e-bikes within the US have elevated sharply lately, to an estimated 804,000 in 2021 from 152,000 in 2016, in response to the National Bicycle Dealers Association, an trade commerce group. A examine printed within the peer-reviewed journal Injury Prevention in 2020 discovered that e-bike riders had been extra more likely to require hospitalization after accidents than these utilizing handbook bikes. “E-bikes are clearly related to extra critical accidents,” stated Dr. Charles DiMaggio, a professor of surgical procedure at New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine and an creator of the examine.

The Steinsapir household’s lawsuit additionally names Giro Sport Design, the producer of the helmet that Molly was sporting. Vista Outdoor, the father or mother firm of Giro, declined to remark.

Even as Ms. Steinsapir shared tales and images of her daughter on social media since her loss of life, she didn’t reveal particulars of the accident. The lawsuit offers a extra full account.

Molly and an 11-year-old pal climbed aboard a RadRunner e-bike that belonged to the pal’s 13-year-old sister, the lawsuit says. The pal was working the bike as Molly rode atop a flat rack over its again wheel, a characteristic that “invitations a passenger to sit down in tandem,” in response to the criticism.

The two ladies rode to the highest of a hill that they probably wouldn’t have been capable of climb with out the bike’s electrical increase, the lawsuit says. After the pal turned the bike round to go again down the hill, the bike “started to quickly choose up velocity, and it started shaking,” in response to the criticism. The pal “utilized the rear brake, however the bicycle didn’t decelerate. She then pulled the entrance brake, however the bike didn’t cease, and the entrance wheel started to wobble.” She misplaced management, and the ladies had been thrown. The lawsuit claims that the Rad Runner’s “disc brakes along with a quick-release mechanism for detaching the entrance wheel” is “a recognized security hazard” within the bike trade.

Molly lay unconscious within the street. Paramedics took her to the hospital, the place she underwent a number of mind surgical procedures. She by no means regained consciousness, the criticism says.

Molly’s father, a lawyer, has represented the property of Michael Jackson, amongst different leisure trade purchasers. After his daughter’s loss of life, 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 prevented,” 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 obliged to attempt to verify no different household would expertise this sort of loss.

“No amount of cash can deliver again our daughter,” Ms. Steinsapir stated. “But we will not sit silent.”

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