Over the years, I have observed & photographed many "youngsters" riding their bikes over chicanes, etc. The action of turning the front wheel seems to be an inner reaction controlled by the machinations of the mind, rather than a "stunt" or other result due to stupidity. I've even witnessed children playing with their dirt bikes in a casual, non-sanctioned, impromptu back yard "motocross" exhibit these same motions. So, the question becomes, are they mimicking the "professionals" they see on TV, or is this some natural reaction that the human mind directs?
My original comments about the lawyer industry stand. Although, I certainly do feel for the parents of the youngster who was injured, AND mostly for him, I'm in no way siding w/ the verdict. That his medical bills be paid is one thing, but that the company should be sued successfully for not having their crystal ball energized to see a possible "what if" scenario is a totally different matter. As a nation, we have become far too litigation eager!
This is an interesting tale. But the one thing that I would offer is that I have never come across turning the front wheel sideways to stop a bike. I would list doing that in the same catagory as putting ones foot into the spokes to stop a bike. To make myself clear, I call turning the fork sideways to stop, except for a life-critical emergency, a poorly advised stupid trick. If an individual does not have enough hand strength to lock the wheel brakes, then either that brakes are bad, or else they are running beyond their capabilities.
So really, I would side with the manufacturer on this one.
One other thing, a failure in any portion of the frame or forks would be evident by the feel of the ride. At least that has been my experience, which has been more in the line of nuts or bolts becoming a little bit loose. The feel changes when someting starts to fail.
Although I claim to know little about metallurgy and structural failure analysis, from reading the above report, it seems eminently clear to me that the degree of scientific investigation into the specific failure of this bicycle component rivaled only that of the O-ring failure after the CHALLENGER disaster. The interesting part of this is that one comes away from this story with the strong feeling that there were a lot of lawyers, etal. who made a ton of money from this somewhat tragic accident.
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