Calif. Company to Pay $1.4 Million Penalty in Failure to Report Hazard with Mountain Bikes

November 24, 2004

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced that Dynacraft BSC Inc., of San Rafael, California, has agreed to pay a $1,400,000 civil penalty to settle allegations that it violated federal reporting requirements. CPSC alleged that Dynacraft failed, on multiple occasions, to inform the government in a timely manner about a serious defect with their mountain bicycles.

Between July 1999 and March 2001, Dynacraft imported nearly 250,000 mountain bicycles that were manufactured with two types of defective forks. The forks, which are part of the steering column, can break apart and separate from the front wheel, causing the rider to lose control and suffer serious injuries. More than 50,000 of these bicycles also were made with a defect that caused the pedals to come loose and fall off, resulting in a loss of control by the rider.

In January 2000, Dynacraft reported to CPSC that a limited number of Vertical XL2 bicycles were involved in incidents where the fork broke and riders suffered chipped teeth, a sprained back, or bumps and bruises to the head. Based on this information, CPSC and the firm recalled only 19,000 bicycles in February 2000. Yet, the firm reportedly knew of additional consumers who experienced the same problem with the bicycles, but these incidents were not reported to CPSC until July 2000.

As a result, the February 2000 recall was expanded in September 2000 to include another 24,800 Vertical XL2 and Magna Electroshock model bicyles. Dynacraft reported problems with the Magna Electroshock model in August 2000, including 35 incidents and injuries (concussions, fractures, and lost teeth).

In March 2001, Dynacraft informed CPSC about 31 riders using the Next Shockzone model mountain bikes who were injured between March 2000 and March 2001. In addition to broken bones, cuts and bruises, one rider suffered a blood clot in the brain. The recall of 38,000 Next Shockzone bicycles in April 2001 also involved defective suspension forks.

An additional 54,000 units were recalled in May 2001 after the company reported incidents and serious injuries involving the Magna Equator models, due to defects with the pedals. The largest and last recall took place in June 2002, when 132,000 Next Ultra Shock mountain bicycles were recalled due to defective Ballistic 105 forks. Dynacraft reported 21 injuries involving the Next Ultra Shock, including concussions, abrasions, chipped teeth, and chest trauma.

Federal law requires manufacturers, distributors, and retailers to report to CPSC immediately (within 24 hours) after obtaining information which reasonably supports the conclusion that a product contains a defect which could create a substantial risk of injury to the public, presents an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death, or violates a federal safety standard.

In agreeing to settle the matter, Dynacraft BSC Inc. denies that it violated the reporting requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Act.

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