Defective Dirt Bike Hand Grip Leads to Deadly Accident

Joseph O'Neill

Written by
— Updated on October 24, 2017

ATV Expert WitnessThis case involves a man who was fatally injured in a dirt bike accident that was allegedly caused by a failure in the bike’s handlebar assembly. On the date of the incident in question the man, who was an experienced dirt bike rider, was participating in a competition. During a warm up lap on the competition’s track, the grip assembly of the man’s bike separated from the bike’s handle bars, causing him to crash immediately. The man was airlifted to the hospital, where he died from his wounds the next day. It was claimed that the grip assembly of the bike had been defectively designed and / or manufactured.

 

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Do you have experience with the design or inspection of this type of bike or similar vehicles?
  • 2. How do manufacturers ensure that grips to not fall of of handle bars?

Expert Witness Response E-067633

I have experience with mechanical devices similar to the hand grip. The manufacturer’s intention is to design the parts/components (grips) to be securely fastened for the life of the vehicle under the expected usage. These manufacturers test the part/component (grips) to ensure conformance to the design. However, sometimes manufacturers make mistakes in the design or manufacture of said part/component such that an inferior part/component makes it into the hands of the consumer. I’ve seen this many, many times over my 37 years of experience. Some manufacturers own up to their mistakes, contact the proper authorities, and publicly correct the issue. Other manufacturers quietly fix the problem, then either take covert actions to rework the units in the field or simply hope whatever is inferior doesn’t become an issue in the future. I am confident that if proper evidence is available, I will be able to draw a conclusion on the effectiveness of the design or whether or not it was possible to install the grip incorrectly.

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