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

The dad and mom 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 swimsuit, Kaye and Jonathan Steinsapir, the dad and mom 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 pace whereas going downhill.

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

In an announcement, a Rad Power Bikes spokesperson stated: “The total Rad Power Bikes staff 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 good friend in Los Angeles. Later that day, in a Twitter submit despatched from Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, her mom referred to as for help: “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 have been shared tons of of 1000’s of occasions, and a web based group fashioned across the hashtag #TeamMolly.

When Molly died Feb. 15, her demise 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 individuals 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 previous 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 consists of 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 traders 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 accordance with 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 have been extra more likely to require hospitalization after accidents than these utilizing handbook bikes. “E-bikes are clearly related to extra critical damage,” 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 carrying. Vista Outdoor, the mother or father firm of Giro, declined to remark.

Even as Ms. Steinsapir shared tales and pictures of her daughter on social media since her demise, she didn’t reveal particulars of the accident. The lawsuit gives 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 characteristic that “invitations a passenger to sit down in tandem,” in accordance with the grievance.

The two ladies rode to the highest of a hill that they most definitely wouldn’t have been in a position to climb with out the bike’s electrical enhance, the lawsuit says. After the good friend turned the bike round to move again down the hill, the bike “started to quickly decide up pace, and it started shaking,” in accordance with the grievance. The good friend “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 have been thrown. The lawsuit claims that the Rad Runner’s “disc brakes at the side of a quick-release mechanism for detaching the entrance wheel” is “a identified 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 grievance says.

Molly’s father, a lawyer, has represented the property of Michael Jackson, amongst different leisure trade purchasers. After his daughter’s demise, 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 achieve 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 dad and mom stated they felt obliged to strive to verify no different household would expertise this type of loss.

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

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