WallyWorld Accused of Selling "Death Trap" Bicycles

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by GaryG, Feb 18, 2005.

  1. GaryG

    GaryG Guest

    Who knew?

    http://www.marinij.com/Stories/0,1413,234~24407~2712359,00.html

    "A lawsuit filed yesterday accuses San Rafael-based Dynacraft Industries
    Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of conspiring to sell bicycles they know are
    defective and have caused injuries.

    The lawsuit was filed in Marin Superior Court on behalf of nine children
    from throughout the nation who were injured when the front wheel of the Next
    brand bicycles they were riding detached, sending them over the handle bars.

    The lawsuit claims Wal-Mart and Dynacraft have sold millions of "death trap"
    bicycles with quick-release front wheels that were manufactured in China.
    The bikes were imported by Dynacraft and shipped to Wal-Mart stores unopened
    and unchecked for essential components."

    You mean you can't trust your kids lives to a $50 Chinese bicycle assembled
    by a minimum wage teenager with no training? What a shock!!

    GG
     
    Tags:


  2. Paul Turner

    Paul Turner Guest

    GaryG wrote:

    > The lawsuit claims Wal-Mart and Dynacraft have sold millions of "death
    > trap"
    > bicycles with quick-release front wheels that were manufactured in
    > China.
    > The bikes were imported by Dynacraft and shipped to Wal-Mart stores
    > unopened
    > and unchecked for essential components."
    >
    > You mean you can't trust your kids lives to a $50 Chinese bicycle
    > assembled
    > by a minimum wage teenager with no training? What a shock!!


    I don't doubt that the bikes are junk, but the lawsuit looks like a
    travesty as well. As far as I can tell, it is based on failure to include
    a warning that "Correct adjustment of the axle nuts or quick release
    levers is vitally important to avoid an accident caused by loose wheels."
    That's true of good bikes and bad bikes, and while I suppose a warning
    makes sense, it's pretty self-evident. Lack of such a warning doesn't
    really make a bike a death trap.

    --
    Paul Turner
     
  3. Mike Kruger

    Mike Kruger Guest

    "GaryG" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    >
    > You mean you can't trust your kids lives to a $50 Chinese

    bicycle assembled
    > by a minimum wage teenager with no training? What a shock!!
    >

    Here's my favorite quote from the news story:

    "Generally, we are only going to sell products that we feel
    are safe," Whitcomb said from the chain's headquarters in
    Bentonville, Ark.

    "Generally"? That's reassuring.
     
  4. Beverly

    Beverly Guest

    "Gooserider" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    >
    > "Mike Kruger" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]
    > > "GaryG" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > > news:[email protected]
    > > >
    > > > You mean you can't trust your kids lives to a $50 Chinese

    > > bicycle assembled
    > > > by a minimum wage teenager with no training? What a shock!!
    > > >

    > > Here's my favorite quote from the news story:
    > >
    > > "Generally, we are only going to sell products that we feel
    > > are safe," Whitcomb said from the chain's headquarters in
    > > Bentonville, Ark.
    > >
    > > "Generally"? That's reassuring.
    > >

    >
    > Where did parents get kids' bicycles before Wal Mart? I was a kid in the
    > 70s, and I remember a couple of el cheapos before I got my first Schwinn.
    > One even had hard plastic tires. I had a chopper from Sears, but I don't
    > think the quality was very good at all.
    >
    >

    My dad bought my first bike, a Schwinn, at a hardware store in the late 40s.
    I don't remember too many bike shops. I know there wasn't one in our town.
     
  5. "GaryG" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > Who knew?
    > http://www.marinij.com/Stories/0,1413,234~24407~2712359,00.html
    > "A lawsuit filed yesterday accuses San Rafael-based Dynacraft Industries
    > Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of conspiring to sell bicycles they know are
    > defective and have caused injuries.
    > The lawsuit was filed in Marin Superior Court on behalf of nine children
    > from throughout the nation who were injured when the front wheel of the
    > Next
    > brand bicycles they were riding detached, sending them over the handle
    > bars.
    > The lawsuit claims Wal-Mart and Dynacraft have sold millions of "death
    > trap"
    > bicycles with quick-release front wheels that were manufactured in China.
    > The bikes were imported by Dynacraft and shipped to Wal-Mart stores
    > unopened
    > and unchecked for essential components."
    > You mean you can't trust your kids lives to a $50 Chinese bicycle
    > assembled
    > by a minimum wage teenager with no training? What a shock!!
    > GG
    >


    I think it is another example of parents not checking the bicycle out
    frequently to ensure it is OK to ride.
    They just assumed it was setup from the store, no one checked any of the
    fasteners or QR's or nuts and bolts to
    make sure they were tight. So they blame some company with deep pockets for
    their own stupidity or lazyness.
    Just recently I saw a neigborhood kid riding a bike with the front QR
    spinning around or flopping around loosely on the hub.
    So I got the kid to stop so I could tighten it for him plus other things too
    (everything was about to fall off of the bike),
    and I adjusted his seat higher too. It makes you wonder what the parents are
    doing, maybe waiting for an accident so they could sue too?
     
  6. catzz66

    catzz66 Guest

    Mike Kruger wrote:
    > "GaryG" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]
    >
    >>You mean you can't trust your kids lives to a $50 Chinese

    >
    > bicycle assembled
    >
    >>by a minimum wage teenager with no training? What a shock!!
    >>

    >
    > Here's my favorite quote from the news story:
    >
    > "Generally, we are only going to sell products that we feel
    > are safe," Whitcomb said from the chain's headquarters in
    > Bentonville, Ark.
    >
    > "Generally"? That's reassuring.
    >
    >


    Have you ever given a deposition? I had to once and our lawyers told me
    to always try to think about every single word I said before I said it.
    Obviously, Whitcomb was winging it. You're right. If someone says
    that generally the company sells safe products, the other lawyers' next
    response would be something like "All right, tell us all the times when
    you did not sell a safe product, Mr. Whitcomb."
     
  7. On Sun, 20 Feb 2005 05:22:38 -0600 in rec.bicycles.misc, "Earl
    Bollinger" <[email protected]> wrote:

    > I think it is another example of parents not checking the bicycle out
    > frequently to ensure it is OK to ride.
    > They just assumed it was setup from the store, no one checked any of the
    > fasteners or QR's or nuts and bolts to
    > make sure they were tight. So they blame some company with deep pockets for
    > their own stupidity or lazyness.


    ah...no. when a product is sold for an intended purpose, the
    uniform commercial code says that there is an implied warranty
    that it will be safe when correctly used as intended.

    the customer is *not* required the check that the store assembled
    by bicycle correctly, as the law requires. it's the store's job
    to ensure that they are safe when they leave the store.

    deep pockets have nothing to do with it.
     
  8. "Gooserider" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]

    > Where did parents get kids' bicycles before Wal Mart?


    WIWAK, there was a Schwinn store downtown. It was where you bought your
    Schwinn or had it repaired. Our family couldn't afford a Schwinn. I remember
    turning the pages of the Schwinn catalog as a kid, looking at all the bikes
    I would never get: cool banana seat bikes, the Varsity, even a weird trike
    for adults in the back.

    I had an apple green Huffy through most of elementary school. I don't know
    where it came from, as it was a present in the 2nd grade. It was a three
    speed -- three speeds were not *quite* enough to make it up the hill from my
    fencing class. Sometimes I ride that same hill with my current bike, and I
    still have to put it into the granny gear to get up that slope.


    --
    Warm Regards,

    Claire Petersky
    Home of the meditative cyclist:
    http://home.earthlink.net/~cpetersky/Welcome.htm
    Personal page: http://www.geocities.com/cpetersky/
    See the books I've set free at:
    http://bookcrossing.com/referral/Cpetersky
     
  9. Pat

    Pat Guest

    : Where did parents get kids' bicycles before Wal Mart? I was a kid in the
    : 70s, and I remember a couple of el cheapos before I got my first Schwinn.
    : One even had hard plastic tires. I had a chopper from Sears, but I don't
    : think the quality was very good at all.
    :
    I remember Western Auto selling kids' bikes here in Texas. And Montgomery
    Ward, of course (as well as Sears Roebuck).

    Pat
    :
     
  10. GaryG wrote:
    > ...
    > The lawsuit claims Wal-Mart and Dynacraft have sold millions of

    "death trap"
    > bicycles with quick-release front wheels that were manufactured in

    China.
    > The bikes were imported by Dynacraft and shipped to Wal-Mart stores

    unopened
    > and unchecked for essential components."
    >
    > You mean you can't trust your kids lives to a $50 Chinese bicycle

    assembled
    > by a minimum wage teenager with no training? What a shock!!
    >
    > GG



    It seems to me we don't know enough about this lawsuit to comment. Was
    there really something defective about the quick releases? Or did this
    lawyer simply scour the country, find nine kids who didn't operate the
    quick release properly, and use them to justify an attempt at quick
    cash?

    I'm afraid the very term "quick release" is going to be used to get
    large awards out of ignorant juries. So few people understand them.

    Recently, a licensed Professional Engineer I know showed me a bike that
    he was asked, by a lawyer, to write a report on. The engineer was very
    scornful of the design - a low end mountain bike that had lost its
    front wheel in a jump, causing the kid to scratch up his face when he
    went over the bars.

    So I showed the engineer how the quick release was _supposed_ to work -
    and he was amazed. When checking out the bike, he'd been spinning it
    like a wing nut, just as the kid had probably done. Unfortunately,
    he'd already written his report. OTOH, it may not matter much, because
    the kid and his family had packed up suddenly and moved out, leaving no
    forwarding address.

    I _do_ wonder if quick release axles should be installed only as
    _options_ on low-end bikes. It's clear that the average American
    doesn't have the minimal mechanical aptitude to figure them out.
     
  11. 1oki

    1oki Guest

    "Claire Petersky" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > "Gooserider" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]
    >
    >> Where did parents get kids' bicycles before Wal Mart?


    Point of disinterest: I have never in my life been in a Wal-Mart store -
    though that may change Wal-Mart finally won a decade long battle to force
    the city to rezone a site so they will be building one. the thing stopping
    them now is if the store unionizes.

    When they weren't second-hand my first bike came from Canadian Tire or
    Sears - those groovy 70's banana seat bikes.

    Ahhhh..... nostalgia.

    I think my first ten-speed was a Crappy Tire CCM.

    --
    'If there's one thing this country needs,
    it's more lawyers
    Can you imagine a world without lawyers?
    *shudder* -Lionel Hutz
     
  12. GaryG

    GaryG Guest

    <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    >
    > GaryG wrote:
    > > ...
    > > The lawsuit claims Wal-Mart and Dynacraft have sold millions of

    > "death trap"
    > > bicycles with quick-release front wheels that were manufactured in

    > China.
    > > The bikes were imported by Dynacraft and shipped to Wal-Mart stores

    > unopened
    > > and unchecked for essential components."
    > >
    > > You mean you can't trust your kids lives to a $50 Chinese bicycle

    > assembled
    > > by a minimum wage teenager with no training? What a shock!!
    > >
    > > GG

    >
    >
    > It seems to me we don't know enough about this lawsuit to comment. Was
    > there really something defective about the quick releases? Or did this
    > lawyer simply scour the country, find nine kids who didn't operate the
    > quick release properly, and use them to justify an attempt at quick
    > cash?


    FWIW, Bay Area channel KCHO covered the story on their evening news. They
    showed a clip of tape with one of the bikes in a bike stand. Merely
    flipping the lever caused the front wheel to drop out...indicating that
    there were no "nubs" to prevent that. But, they didn't go into any detail
    as to whether or not that was actually the case.

    They also interviewed an LBS employee who said that in 10 years of
    wrenching, he had never once seen a properly assembled and adjusted
    department store bike.

    So, it's hard to say whether or not it was a defective bike, bad assembly by
    WalMart, or some kids who were using poorly maintained, low end "mountain
    bikes" to perform stunts they dreamed up after watching Jackass.

    GG


    > I'm afraid the very term "quick release" is going to be used to get
    > large awards out of ignorant juries. So few people understand them.
    >
    > Recently, a licensed Professional Engineer I know showed me a bike that
    > he was asked, by a lawyer, to write a report on. The engineer was very
    > scornful of the design - a low end mountain bike that had lost its
    > front wheel in a jump, causing the kid to scratch up his face when he
    > went over the bars.
    >
    > So I showed the engineer how the quick release was _supposed_ to work -
    > and he was amazed. When checking out the bike, he'd been spinning it
    > like a wing nut, just as the kid had probably done. Unfortunately,
    > he'd already written his report. OTOH, it may not matter much, because
    > the kid and his family had packed up suddenly and moved out, leaving no
    > forwarding address.
    >
    > I _do_ wonder if quick release axles should be installed only as
    > _options_ on low-end bikes. It's clear that the average American
    > doesn't have the minimal mechanical aptitude to figure them out.
    >
     
  13. "Pat" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    >
    > : Where did parents get kids' bicycles before Wal Mart? I was a kid in the
    > : 70s, and I remember a couple of el cheapos before I got my first
    > Schwinn.
    > : One even had hard plastic tires. I had a chopper from Sears, but I don't
    > : think the quality was very good at all.
    > :
    > I remember Western Auto selling kids' bikes here in Texas. And Montgomery
    > Ward, of course (as well as Sears Roebuck).
    >
    > Pat
    > :
    >

    A lot of stores had bikes, like Woolworth and Co, Kresges, the Five and
    Dime, ACE Hardware and some other hardware stores.
    Some grocery stores had bikes too. When I was young and in the military I
    bought a nice Schwinn 10speed from the local Schwinn LBS
    in Phoenix Az. I used it until I had to go overseas, then I sold it to
    someone else. So there were Schwinn dealers way back in 1973 in the bigger
    cities.
    I got a 1970's vintage JC Penney 10sp road touring bike recently. I had to
    replace the tires, tubes and put on a new chain.
    The QR's are pretty crappy, but they still work, I ought to replace them
    soon.
    Otherwise it works pretty good still.
     
  14. >>ah...no. when a product is sold for an intended purpose, the
    uniform commercial code says that there is an implied warranty
    that it will be safe when correctly used as intended<<

    "When correctly used" is your phrase. QR's are correct when tightened.
    Bolts are used correctly when tightened. We all know that fasteners can
    come loose and as consumers it is our duty to check occasionally. If
    fasteners fail that becomes a warranty issue.

    >>the customer is *not* required the check that the store assembled

    by bicycle correctly, as the law requires. it's the store's job
    to ensure that they are safe when they leave the store. <<

    I may not be rquired to do so but my brain tells me it cant hurt to do
    a quick check of a bike before riding esp if my kids will be riding.
    Taking 5 minutes can prevent an accident . Millions of $$$ from
    walmart are worthless if my kid ends up damaged for life , A scar may
    be worth it to have enough for college but brain injury , paralysis etc
    is not worth any money in the world.

    >>deep pockets have nothing to do with it. <<


    It has everything to do with it. People have stopped being
    responsible for themselves and need to sue corporations out of
    stupidity and laziness. Coffee is served hot so do I neeed a label?
    You are the reason our courts are filled with frivilous suits that
    detract from those who legitimately deserve damages.
     
  15. Mike Kruger

    Mike Kruger Guest

    "Earl Bollinger" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    >
    > I think it is another example of parents not checking the

    bicycle out
    > frequently to ensure it is OK to ride.
    > They just assumed it was setup from the store, no one

    checked any of the
    > fasteners or QR's or nuts and bolts to
    > make sure they were tight. So they blame some company with

    deep pockets for
    > their own stupidity or lazyness.
    > Just recently I saw a neigborhood kid riding a bike with the

    front QR
    > spinning around or flopping around loosely on the hub.
    > So I got the kid to stop so I could tighten it for him plus

    other things too
    > (everything was about to fall off of the bike),
    > and I adjusted his seat higher too. It makes you wonder what

    the parents are
    > doing, maybe waiting for an accident so they could sue too?


    Another theory is that the parents just don't understand quick
    releases.
    I can't think of a lot of other items that have QR's on them.
     
  16. Mike Kruger

    Mike Kruger Guest

    "Gooserider" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:EPSRd.96783
    >
    > Where did parents get kids' bicycles before Wal Mart? I was

    a kid in the
    > 70s, and I remember a couple of el cheapos before I got my

    first Schwinn.
    > One even had hard plastic tires. I had a chopper from Sears,

    but I don't
    > think the quality was very good at all.
    >

    Sears sold a lot of bikes under names like J C Higgins and
    Free Spirit.
    Hardware stores did, too (and many still do, especially in
    small towns).
    Didn't Western Auto have its own line of cheap bikes?
     
  17. Mike Kruger

    Mike Kruger Guest

    <[email protected]> wrote in message
    >
    > I _do_ wonder if quick release axles should be installed

    only as
    > _options_ on low-end bikes. It's clear that the average

    American
    > doesn't have the minimal mechanical aptitude to figure them

    out.
    >

    I'm surprised this hasn't happened. There's really no speed
    advantage over large wing nuts in a household context --
    particularly since many people riding low-end bikes aren't
    carrying patch kits and pumps anyway. Large wing nuts are
    simpler technology that is probably cheaper. It has to be
    marketing / consumer perception related.
     
  18. Zoot Katz

    Zoot Katz Guest

    20 Feb 2005 07:52:17 -0800,
    <[email protected]>,
    [email protected] wrote:

    >I _do_ wonder if quick release axles should be installed only as
    >_options_ on low-end bikes. It's clear that the average American
    >doesn't have the minimal mechanical aptitude to figure them out.


    I thought all these things came plastered with warning stickers and a
    generic "owner's manual" in two or more languages.
    Perhaps the problem is rooted in illiteracy.
    --
    zk
     
  19. Zoot Katz

    Zoot Katz Guest

    Sun, 20 Feb 2005 11:42:32 -0600,
    <[email protected]>, "Mike Kruger"
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >>

    >Sears sold a lot of bikes under names like J C Higgins and
    >Free Spirit.
    >Hardware stores did, too (and many still do, especially in
    >small towns).
    >Didn't Western Auto have its own line of cheap bikes?


    The "Western Flyer".

    Auto tire stores were major sellers of bicycles.
    Firestone had their own house brands built by Colson and Huffman that
    later became Huffy. B.F. Goodrich sold rebadged Schiwnns. Goodyear
    sold Colsons.

    I think part of the chain store bikes' popularity was these companies
    were able to offer financing. Weekly payments of $1.50 helped make
    bikes attainable.
    --
    zk
     
  20. Tom Keats

    Tom Keats Guest

    In article <[email protected]>,
    "1oki" <[email protected]> writes:
    >
    > "Claire Petersky" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]
    >> "Gooserider" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    >> news:[email protected]
    >>
    >>> Where did parents get kids' bicycles before Wal Mart?

    >
    > Point of disinterest: I have never in my life been in a Wal-Mart store -
    > though that may change Wal-Mart finally won a decade long battle to force
    > the city to rezone a site so they will be building one. the thing stopping
    > them now is if the store unionizes.
    >
    > When they weren't second-hand my first bike came from Canadian Tire or
    > Sears - those groovy 70's banana seat bikes.
    >
    > Ahhhh..... nostalgia.
    >
    > I think my first ten-speed was a Crappy Tire CCM.


    I kind of predate Wal*Mart and Canadian Tire by,
    erm, a number of years, so my first bike ever was a
    second-hand CCM coaster, probably of late '40s or
    early '50s vintage. During my wardship of it though,
    I got my first exposure to a real, local bike shop
    (long-since defunct Circle Cycle, on Kingsway, in
    Vancouver.) I still recall the lovely aroma, which
    I can only describe as a combination of old-times
    hardware store plus new rubber. People talk about
    'new car smell', but bike shop smell has it beat,
    hands-down. Ahhhh ... nostalgia. And chemicals.

    > 'If there's one thing this country needs,
    > it's more lawyers
    > Can you imagine a world without lawyers?
    > *shudder* -Lionel Hutz


    "When I grow up, I'm going to Bovine University."
    -- Ralph Wiggam


    cheers,
    Tom

    --
    -- Nothing is safe from me.
    Above address is just a spam midden.
    I'm really at: tkeats [curlicue] vcn [point] bc [point] ca
     
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