Motorcycle Defects and Accident Liability

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Motorcycle is one of the most dangerous modes of transportation. This is because the rider is exposed to dangers brought by its structural make-up. The danger is even increased when the motorcycle has defective parts. While most accidents are caused by human error, defective motorcycle parts may also be indirectly attributed to such errors. Carelessness and inexperience among the motorcycle manufacturer’s employees may cause such defects.

Defective Parts that May Cause an Accident

In Los Angeles, the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) listed the following as common motorcycle defects:


Problems in acceleration are not only common in motorcycles. It happens also in cars like that manufactured by Toyota and Ford. The two companies have topped companies with the most acceleration complaints.

Defective seats

A minor problem with the motorcycle seat can cause the driver to lose control of the bike and meet an accident. Seat failures are often due to defective seat brackets, lose bolts and hinges on adjustable seats.

In 2005, Yamaha has recalled nearly 200,000 motorcycles with defective seat brackets. In an earlier incident, BMW has also recalled about 2,000 of its motorcycle due to its defective backrest.

Broken or Cracked Wheels

Wheels provide support hence they should not be bent, cracked or damaged so as to affect the over all operation of the motorcycle. Moreover, wheel bearings must not also be excessively worn or out of adjustment.

Muffler and Exhaust System

A motorcycle is not only designed to have an exhaust line or tailpipe but it must also be properly secured. The muffler must be free from cut out, by-pass or patched up. 

To oversee vehicle safety, the NHTSA has the power to lay down standards and order recall of vehicles, including motorcycles, with safety-related defects. The agency is also empowered to accept reports regarding vehicles with defective parts and conduct investigation. In investigating the defect, the NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation follows a four part investigative process: Screening, Petition Analysis, Investigation and Recall Management.

These processes have been observed in Yamaha’s recall of its motorcycles early this year. About 54,000 motorcycles with faulty rear shock absorber have been recalled. Following Yamaha’s move is Honda recalling nearly 13,000 motorcycle models with defective cooling system.

The owners of these defective motorcycles may recover compensation for injuries sustained. A personal injury case may be pursued against the car manufacturers with the assistance of a product liability lawyer.

From the author: motorcycle defects