This case involves an injury to a male after the front wheel of his motorcycle came off. The plaintiff, a forty-four-year-old man had just taken his motorcycle to be serviced at a dealership for routine maintenance and a new set of tires. Once the bike was serviced, the plaintiff left the dealership and was driving home. Approximately fifteen minutes later, while driving down a local road, the front tire of the motorcycle began to wobble and fell off of the motorcycle. The plaintiff lost control of the motorcycle, which slammed into the ground as the front tire dislodged from the rest of the bike. The sudden impact caused the man to flip over the front handlebars and onto the pavement. He suffered multiple lacerations to his arms and legs, four fractured vertebrae, and a broken pelvis. As a result of his injuries, the plaintiff missed six months of work.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. How does a motorcycle mechanic check to make sure all parts are safely in place (specifically the wheels) after servicing the machine?
Expert Witness Response
Checking to make sure that the tires are appropriately attached to the motorcycle after replacing the wheels is critical to a motorcyclist’s safety. It is important to ensure that the wheel bearings are properly in place, and the lug nuts and bolts are properly tightened because failure to do so can result in the tire becoming loose. Errors can also occur at the brake mounting point, the pinch bolts, the axle, or with the placement of the spacers. Most mechanics (especially those associated with a dealership) have a set list of procedures that need to be followed when removing and replacing a tire. While most mechanics have slight deviations in how they approach the process, the most important part is to remain consistent in their own process, lessening the risk of any careless errors. By examining the approach taken by the mechanic and the training and process followed by the dealership, I can analyze any dramatic differences with the norm, and if the mechanic did not follow them adequately. I have over thirty-five years of experience working in a motorcycle repair shop and have performed maintenance and repairs on hundreds of bikes.