Harley Davidson ABS lawsuit - does this guy have a case?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by John Smallberries, Dec 19, 2011.

  1. John Smallberries

    John Smallberries Long timer

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    http://www.sacbee.com/2011/12/16/4126504/contentious-motorcycle-accident.html

    Anyone heard of this tragic incident in California? Do you think the plaintiff has a valid case against Harley Davidson?

    I'm curious if anyone has one of these bikes. Does the "ABS" indicator actually light during key-on or start-up, even for bikes that are not equipped with ABS. The article seems to imply this, but is not perfectly clear. One of you probably knows...
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  2. genka

    genka SUV hater

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    The ABS light on the dashboard, is it always off, or does it light up when the ignition is turned on? If the bike acts like it has ABS, it is reasonable for an owner to believe that it is there. You can't expect people to have deep technical knoledge of their vehicles. How many soccer moms know if their SUVs have full or part time AWD, traction control, seat belt preloaders, etc?
    As for the lawsuit, regardless of the existence of ABS, the riders actions caused the accident.
    #2
  3. rivercreep

    rivercreep Banned

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    Or it could be argued that his belief that he had something to rely on (ABS in this case) so he could just slam on the brakes, caused the accident.

    Not for or against here....just playing Devils advocate.:wink:
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  4. bones_708

    bones_708 Been here awhile

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    I believe the ABS light only lights up on bikes with ABS. Like a rear defroster indicator on a car without rear defrosters there may be a space on the dash but the indicator is incapable of lighting up.
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  5. Offcamber

    Offcamber Long timer

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    Unless I missed it the article never says whether the wife was wearing a helmet or not....I'm guessing not due to the injuries she sustained. That aside, if the dealership told him he had ABS( and it can be proved that they did) then they might have a case. I wouldn't be surprised if the salesman did tell them it had ABS. Many times I have walked into car or bike dealer and know more about the product than the sales staff. Of course there is no guarantee that ABS would have prevented the accident...The rider should have the skills to control the bike without relying on ABS.
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  6. hancockbs

    hancockbs Auburn Alumni

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    ABS or not, how did locking up the rear brake send her flying 35 feet? Looks to me like ABS would have been more likely to cause such a result than a sliding rear tire.
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  7. IheartmyNx

    IheartmyNx Ihave2draft

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    That's gonna be one costly light/ indicator...
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  8. IheartmyNx

    IheartmyNx Ihave2draft

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    Don't tell me... Is this ANOTHER case of a mid-life crisis meets "I'll get a REAL bike for my first one, and I don't need no stinking education on how to ride it either!"


    Maybe the we need mandatory ABS, driver/rider training, full face helmets and a cell phone ban?
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  9. dwoodward

    dwoodward Long timer

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    I've typed and deleted six replies so far.

    It's 8AM on Monday, and already I want to start drinking...

    I bet DAKEZ's head is going to explode...
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  10. larryboy

    larryboy Chopper Rider

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    This is California, you can't ride 100 feet without getting arrested for no helmet, but you can wear an illegal beanie helmet.
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  11. '05Train

    '05Train Mind is not for rent

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    The ABS light comes on if you have it. I'm just trying to figure out how the hell locking the rear wheel catapults your wife 35 feet off the bike.

    Seems to me this was a pretty clear case of rider error. It sucks for the wife, but unless the bike's bill of sale says it had ABS, the dealer and the MoCo are blameless.
    #11
  12. Wolfgang55

    Wolfgang55 Long timer

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    If you want to see real Californian helmet wearers in action just watch "Sons of Anarchy".

    But to the question, YES, in CAL everyone has a case for not being responsible.
    #12
  13. blackx70

    blackx70 Been here awhile

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    Does not matter what the salesman said. When you by a vehicle, there is a disclaimer that basicly says that anything the salesman said was BS.
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  14. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Long timer

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    Sticky situation for the HD lawyers. It would be nice to say that her crappy helmet caused the extensive injuries. But I'll be the crappy helmet is proudly adorned with the HD logo.
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  15. Tripped1

    Tripped1 Likely Lost.

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    I think its stupid.

    But I would also bet money the guy gets paid to shut him the fuck up. I mean really, you DIDN'T KNOW weather or not your bike had ABS? I call that a personal issue, but there are about a million bullshit court cases that say otherwise so it'll probably fly.

    Hopefully Harley fights this one tooth and nail.
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  16. LuciferMutt

    LuciferMutt Rides slow bike slow

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    :deal
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  17. andy29847

    andy29847 Dirt Road Rider

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    Panic braking, rear end swings around, rider lets off brake, tires grab, passengers fly.

    The ABS lights I have seen come on when the ignition is turned on, then go off (unless there is a problem with the ABS).

    It is dumber than shit to have an ABS light on a bike that does not have ABS.
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  18. RxZ

    RxZ Legal Drug Dealer

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    From how I read the article, its not a light. It is a cutout on the dial where there could be a light on a model with ABS equipped. It is the exact same in my SUV (and all other vehicles I have owned). It has cutouts that I can see for different symbols that stand for "hill start assist", "4x4", "differential locked", and "4LO". I do not have 4x4, so none of these has ever lit up. But when sunlight hits them at a certain angle I can see that they are there. At no point have I ever thought I actually had 4x4 though, you know, because there was a cutout on the dash.

    Either way, I am sad for the passenger and family. At no point did she do anything that caused this (not arguing about helmets/gear). And really, no matter the reason, does anyone truly DESERVE to die because of their riding/riding habits?
    #18
  19. dwoodward

    dwoodward Long timer

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    Yeah, pretty classic high-side, except the rider doesn't have to "let off" the rear brake.

    Depending on which way the bike swings, his foot could have been forced off the brake when it hit the ground (bike swung to the left, brake side down) or he parted company with the bike. OR, even if he was still holding the brake pedal down, the tire hooks up and the bottom of the sideways bike is now stationary. This is why you don't keep mashing the rear brake and assume a lowside is the worst thing that can happen.

    Pssst- They all do- and I don't just mean "all Harleys". I bet every bike built where ABS is an option, has a place on the dash for the ABS light, that simply doesn't light up if ABS isn't installed.

    IMHO, HD has to fight this on personal responsibility grounds- it's the rider's responsibility to operate the bike. Otherwise, they're open to lawsuits from every dipshit that has, or will, lay 'er down, from now on.

    The interesting part may be hearing whether or not the rider had ever taken (and passed) any training. Not that it figures into the lawsuit- if he did, then HD is covered- he learned how to ride; if not, it's not HD's fault, because training was available. Neat, huh?
    #19
  20. Offcamber

    Offcamber Long timer

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    I guess I have missed the BS clause in all my sales contracts....:huh

    Ajury could feel sympathetic to them if its proven the dealership miss represented the options on the bike....still not an excuse for the accident.
    #20