Cruising for Compensation

Avoid the wobble

Most of us have witnessed motorcycles weaving in and out of traffic on the highways and cruising through neighborhoods.  While some love the acceleration and adrenaline, others worry about the safety aspect.  A recently filed lawsuit may push people in the middle to the side of the latter.  A North Carolina motorcycle owner, William Rouse, is taking legal action against well-known Harley-Davidson, headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for injuries sustained after his bike crashed.

Rouse is not attributing his accident to his own mishandling of the bike or the fault of another driver, but rather to a design error present in Harley-Davidson bikes.  According to the lawsuit, there is a potential for these motorcycles to “wobble” and cause the drivers to momentarily lose control.  In Rouse’s case, he was bending at a curve in the road, lost control and was thrown from his father’s 1999 Electra Glide Classic. Rouse was left not entirely conscious, with critical bodily injuries.  The amount of compensation Rouse is seeking from Harley-Davidson has not been disclosed, but the lawsuit remains in the US Middle District Court in Harrisburg.

Harley-Davison has responded to the accounts of several riders experiencing this wobble sensation by providing a guide of what to do under these circumstances.  The company urges riders to reduce the “grip on the handlebars, not apply brakes and wait until the wobble ends.”  Rouse argues that this method only works if the riders are presented enough room on the road to wait out the wobble.  On the contrary, if the riders are in heavy traffic or rounding a curve in the road, the instructions provided by Harley-Davidson are not guaranteed to work. The lawsuit points out that this wobble flaw is not necessarily exclusive to Harley-Davidson but is a possible defect in other motorcycle brands.  Riders, as well as other drivers on the road, should be cognizant of this dangerous wobble and proceed with caution.