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Concerns Raised over some Harley-Davidson Brakes

It is not hard to find a Harley-Davidson motorcycle cruising around Maricopa County. Even in the dead of summer, odds are that you might see one on occasion as a brave rider endures the heat for the freedom of a ride. Several establishments in the Phoenix area are known as hangouts for bikers and there are annual biker rallies all over Arizona, leading even those who do not ride to realize that motorcycles are a part of life for many here.

But now, concern is being raised by the nation’s largest automobile safety group over the effectiveness of the brakes on some Harley-Davidson motorcycles and riders should be questioning whether they are safe on their bikes as a result.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) defines its mission as “Save lives, prevent injuries, reduce vehicle-related crashes.” It seeks to accomplish that by administering recalls over automobiles and motorcycles, conducting and reviewing research into traffic safety initiatives and concerns, and making recommendations to limit the toll enacted by traffic incidents in terms of the lives involved as well as the finances that are harmed.

Now, NHTSA has confirmed that it will begin an investigation into approximately 430,000 Harley-Davidson motorcycles for alleged issues with spontaneously failing brakes. The investigation covers model years from 2008-2011 that are equipped with an anti-lock braking system.

NHTSA has received 43 complaints about brakes suddenly failing on these models. Of the complaints received, at least three involved motorcycle accidents and two resulted in injuries to those on the bikes. The investigation will seek to uncover the cause of this braking issue and will look into whether the bike itself is to blame or whether the riders bear some responsibility. In the affected models, brake fluid is supposed to be replaced every two years and if that is not done, it may be a contributing factor into the lack of braking capacity for riders.

Experts have stated that it is too early to say definitively whether these Harley-Davidson motorcycles have an issue or whether these incidents happened due to outside factors. If you own one of the affected bikes, you should have your bike inspected to make sure the brakes are working in top condition and you should perform regular, routine maintenance on the bike to keep it running safely. Talking with an authorized Harley-Davidson dealer or even consulting with the NHTSA directly may give you further insight as to whether it is safe to continue riding your bike at this time or whether you should refrain from riding until any conclusions about the brakes are made.

The NHTSA seeks to eliminate as many motorcycle accidents as possible in Phoenix and across the country every year in an effort to keep Americans safe as they travel along our nation’s highways, roadways, and expressways. However, when the unthinkable occurs and a crash does result, know that those involved in Arizona motorcycle accidents may be entitled to financial relief if they choose to bring a personal injury claim for their damages and that victims can use the assistance of a personal injury attorney if they choose to do so.

Prior Blog Entry:

The Role of a Lifeguard in Ensuring Water Safety, Phoenix Injury Lawyer Blog, published July 11, 2016.


Safety Agency to Investigate Complaints Over Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Brakes, Insurance Journal, published July 12, 2016.

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