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Parents take legal action against e-bike company over daughter’s death

Parents of a 12-year-old California girl who died last year after an accident involving a electric bike or e-bikesay they want to see change.

Kaye and Jonathan Steinsapir, parents of Molly Steinsapir, have filed a lawsuit against Rad Power Bikes, a Seattle-based electric bike company.

According to the lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Molly and her best friend of 11 years were riding a RadRunner bike on Jan. 31, 2021, with Molly on the back. As the friends rode down a steep hill, the bike “started to shake and wobble, causing the bike to crash.”

Molly died on February 15, 2021, after undergoing multiple brain surgeries and spending more than two weeks in hospital, with her parents by her side.

“Massaged her hands and feet, sang to her and read to her,” Kaye Steinsapir, whose tweets about Molly’s fight to survive, told ABC News that sparked a following known as “Team Molly”. “I read the book her class was reading because I didn’t want her to be behind when she woke up.”

In their lawsuit, the Steinsapirs claim that the model of bike Molly was riding, the RadRunner from Rad Power Bikes, has “multiple design flaws,” including a problem with the brakes and front wheel that the lawsuit says “ in some cases, can push the wheel out completely.”

The family claims in the lawsuit that Rad Power Bikes “knew or should have known that it was an unsafe and faulty design.”

“Rad Power Bikes was aware of this issue or was made aware of this issue, and they never redesigned their bike,” Jonathan Steinsapir said.hello americain his family’s first TV interview about the lawsuit. “So what we think was preventable.”

Kaye and Jonathan Steinsapir pose with their three children in this undated family photo.

Kaye and Jonathan Steinsapir

E-bikes have a motor and often have more power than a normal bike.

The RadRunner model from Rad Power Bikes is capable of reaching speeds of up to 20 miles per hour, according to the trial.

Molly wore a helmet while riding an e-bike, according to her parents. The maker of the helmet Molly wore, Giro Sport Design, is also named in the lawsuit.

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Giro Sport Design did not respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

Rad Power Bikes told ABC News in a statement that it “sends its deepest condolences to the Steinsapir family.”

The company said it does not comment on ongoing litigation.

In the lawsuit, the Steinsapirs claim the owner’s manual for the RadRunner, the type of bike Molly used, says in fine print on page 49, out of 57 pages, it is “intended for use by persons 18 years of age and older The lawsuit alleges that Rad Power Bikes “knows kids will use” the bike since the company’s website includes what the lawsuit describes as “raving adult reviews” about buying the bike for their kids.

“Let’s be honest, nobody reads textbooks. We all know that,” said Jonathan Steinsapir. “The first step Rad should have is something on the bike itself advising of age appropriateness.”

VIDEO: Parents take legal action against e-bike maker over daughter’s death

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The Steinsapirs said they were taking legal action in hopes of preventing a tragedy for another family.

“I would much rather get away from this and get on with my life,” Jonathan Steinsapir said. “But you know, the next kid that dies or is crippled because of this issue that they refuse to address, I mean I couldn’t live with myself with that.”

His wife, Kaye, added: “Every time I hear Molly. I hear her voice say, ‘Mom, it’s not okay. It’s not right” it was Molly who was. She’s someone who stood up for what’s right and at whatever personal cost, and there’s a huge personal cost to us in the pursuit of this dispute.”

Dr. Charles DiMaggiofaculty member of the Department of Surgery, Division of Trauma and Critical Care at New York University School of Medicine, told ABC News that e-bikes represent “potentially a revolution” in the way people move, but that they must be taken into account. with safety first.

“They need to be introduced in a safe way,” DiMaggio said. “By designing them to stop and brake appropriately and safely, so they don’t necessarily go faster than necessary and marketing them to the appropriate age groups.”

Greg Billing, executive director of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, told ABC News in a 2020 interview that accidents with e-bikes can and do happen – which is why it is imperative that users practice safety.

“It’s a different skill than just riding a bike,” Billing said at the time. “That’s why we encourage people, when they start using e-bikes, to really practice and understand how to handle the power of the bike and make sure they feel comfortable before riding. going out on the road or trail with other people or cars.”