Fitness company Peloton has announced a recall of more than two million exercise bikes due to the risk of users falling. This isn’t the first safety recall by the brand, which became wildly popular at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, Peloton voluntarily recalled its treadmills after dozens of customers reported that the machines injured children. At least one child died. The company faced lawsuits after the treadmill recall, and people injured by the latest product issue are expected to take legal action. If a Peloton machine has injured you, contacting a product liability lawyer is essential.
Peloton Bike Recall
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced the Peloton bike recall earlier this month. According to a notice from the agency, Peloton received 35 reports of the company’s original bike model’s seat post breaking unexpectedly. Thirteen of those reports involved bruises, lacerations, and wrist fractures. The recall affects Peloton model PL01, sold in the U.S. and Canada from January 2018 until May 2023. Affected consumers can request a free replacement seat post from Peloton, but the company is not offering to replace the defective machines.
Two years ago, Peloton faced criticism for refusing to recall its upgraded Tread+ machine amid reports that young children became entrapped by the treadmills. The company challenged the CPSC’s claim that the treadmills could be dangerous for children. Weeks later, Peloton reversed course and voluntarily agreed to recall the faulty treadmills. The basic treadmill model was recalled simultaneously because the touchscreen console could fall off and cause injuries. The company lost an estimated $165 million due to the recalls.
While the CPSC oversees product recalls and is responsible for removing defective products from the marketplace, the government agency has less power than most people believe. The agency cannot force manufacturers to recall products without taking them to court, and it’s a lengthy process that can take years for a case to conclude. The commission relies on manufacturers to heed its warnings and cooperate with a voluntary recall; when they don’t, they can apply pressure in other ways.
In Peloton’s case, the agency released a disturbing video of a child trapped by a Peloton treadmill as the company refused to recall the products. The CPSC also issued an “urgent warning” that consumers should stop using the devices. Peloton was fined $19 million earlier this year for failing to report its dangerous treadmills and continuing to sell recalled devices. We like to believe that corporations have our safety in mind, but that’s unfortunately not always the case.
Defective Product Lawsuits
Product liability is a type of law that covers consumers injured by defective products and allows them to sue the responsible parties. Manufacturers, importers, distributors, and sellers can all be held liable when a flawed product harms someone — A product liability lawsuit may name anyone involved in producing a product. Ignorance isn’t a suitable defense. Even if a manufacturer did not know about a specific hazard, they can be found liable if a plaintiff shows that they should have known that a product was defective. Product liability lawsuits fall into three categories.
Design defects happen when a product is inherently flawed from the start, and the fault was present before manufacturing. A manufacturing defect occurs when something goes wrong during the production process that leads to a flawed product — in this case, it may only be one batch or lot number deemed dangerous or defective. Marketing defects are when a manufacturer fails to warn consumers about the risks of a product. In Peloton’s case, customers might allege both design and marketing defects.
If you’ve been injured by a Peloton bike, seeking immediate medical attention and getting documentation of your injuries is essential. You should keep the machine and ensure you have proof of purchase handy. A critical step is to contact a product liability lawyer with experience with these cases to determine whether you have a claim. Call HHK at 844-943-7626 or fill out our online contact form to discuss your options.
Jed Cain is a partner with Herman, Herman & Katz, LLC. He has dedicated his career to representing injured folks and their families.