By: Victoria E. Drake
Are you a bicycle enthusiast? Is your bike made of carbon-fiber? Well your well-being may be at risk. Earlier this year, Antonio Miguelez was riding his Klein Rove bike when the front fork of the frame suddenly fractured. This caused the wheel to detach and for Miguelez to be thrown from his bike, landing on his face and right arm.
The culprit was carbon-fiber. Miguelez claimed that there were air pockets within the carbon-fiber frame that weakened the structure of his bike, which explains why the frame broke under normal forces. He sustained multiple facial lacerations, one of which resulted in 10 stitches to his chin, as well as pain in his jaw and right shoulder, and the development of TMJ disorder.
The medical costs for Miguelez have totaled over $100,000, and his future expenses are estimated to cost over $300,000. A jury recently awarded him $800,000 to fund any past and future medical expenses.
Bicycle fork failures are no laughing matter; several manufacturers such as Orbea also use carbon-fiber in their bikes, which has also resulted in accidents similar to Miguelez. The bike frames are made in China by workers with little safety training. Bike frames are not made in Europe, as some advertising and promotional literature suggests. If you are a bike rider, and have been involved in an accident where the frame of your bike split due to carbon-fiber, please contact our bicycle litigation partner. He has resolved suits against multiple bike manufacturers.
Source: Miguelez v. Trek Corp., No. 2007-1654-CA-01 (Fla., Miami-Dade Co. Cir. May 23, 2013)