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Understanding Motorcycle Safety and Defect Recalls

Your motorcycle can operate smoothly on the road yet have a potentially serious problem that you're unaware of. One day, you'll receive a letter notifying you to bring your prized ride to the dealer to correct a defect or component that can compromise your motorcycle's safe operation.

Safety and defect recalls may be annoyances to owners of motor vehicles and motorcycles, but they're too important to ignore. A defective brake component or starter relay switch would affect the safety of hundreds or thousands of motorcycle operators. Federal law requires that your motorcycle's manufacturer notify you if a defective part or system in your model is reported. Here's why the notice requires your attention if you get one.How Recalls Happen

It's the responsibility of motor vehicle manufacturers to ensure the safety of their vehicles through proper design and manufacturing. Federal motor vehicle safety standards set minimum performance requirements for parts and components contributing to the safe operation of a vehicle. The United States Code for Motor Vehicle Safety requires manufacturers to notify the owner by mail that the vehicle has a defective part related to safety or isn't in compliance with motor vehicle safety standards.

The recall notice you'd receive about your motorcycle would contain a clear description of the defect, the risk of leaving the defect uncorrected, and the proposed remedy for the defect. You'll also be notified of when you can get the defective part on your motorcycle replaced or repaired without charge.

Motorcycle rider

When Defects Are Found

Virtually every motorcycle manufacturer has issued recall notices, and defective parts are typically the most common reason. Defects are typically brought to the manufacturer's attention in house or by consumer complaints, although some are discovered after serious accidents occur.

The first step toward a recall is reporting the problem to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. You can do this either by calling the vehicle safety hotline, 1-888-327-4236, or by filing a complaint through the administration's website, nhtsa.gov. The information will be added to its consumer complaint database and evaluated by its technical staff, a key step to put the recall process in motion.

Emphasis on Safety

About 3 percent of motorcycle accidents are due to equipment failure, so the emphasis is on safety and preventing potentially dangerous situations on the road. Manufacturers are legally required to notify owners of recalls involving defective parts and establishing the schedules for replacing or repairing the problem. The recalls ensure that the manufacturer is in compliance with safety regulations and that your motorcycle meets all operational requirements.

You have a legal option available to you if your manufacturer doesn't comply with the requirements of your motorcycle's recall notice, such as the work not being done to your satisfaction, or if there is a safety defect that hasn't been the subject of a recall yet. If you find yourself in a recall dispute with the manufacturer of your motorcycle, George Stein Steelhorse Law can assist you with evaluating your legal options. Call 770-961-1700 today for a consultation.


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