By LILY TINOCO | Reporter
Palisadians Kaye and Jonathan Steinsapir are suing electric bike company Rad Power Bikes—the manufacturer of the product Molly Steinsapir was riding before her accident in 2021—for her death, design defects and the dangers its e-bikes pose.
Molly was riding as a passenger on a Rad Power Bikes Radrunner on the morning of January 31, 2021, with her friend when the Radrunner began to “shake and wobble” while going down a steep hill in Pacific Palisades, according to the lawsuit.
Her friend applied the rear brake and pulled the front brake, but the bike did not stop. The impact of the crash threw the girls to the concrete, where Molly lay unresponsive and unconscious, according to the lawsuit.
Nearly two weeks later, Molly died on February 15 after suffering brain trauma.
“Despite several brain surgeries and other treatment and care from some of the finest doctors and nurses in the country, Molly never regained consciousness,” the lawsuit stated. “This case is about the costs of e-bikes. Costs measured by serious injury and death … Costs that Rad Power Bikes, and its executive team, have not just ignored, but turned a willfully blind eye to. The cost here was the death of a 12-year-old girl, Molly Steinsapir.”
The suit stated that Rad Power Bikes bears responsibility for the death of Molly for its intentional marketing to children, failure to forewarn users of the dangers of children operating e-bikes and design defects in the Radrunner, “which was a substantial factor in causing the accident and Molly Steinsapir’s death.”
“The last thing we wanted was to file a lawsuit but Rad left us no choice,” Kaye and Jonathan said in a joint statement to the Palisadian-Post. “We tried for months to get answers from Rad but the company never took the death of our daughter seriously.”
In a letter dated November 17, 2021, Jonathan wrote to Founder and CEO of Rad Power Bikes Mike Radenbaugh and the company’s executive team to detail the accident and pose questions, including: Is it appropriate for 12- and 11-year-olds to operate e-bikes? What measures is the company taking to ensure users are properly educated on safety issues regarding e-bikes?
“We want to work with you to make sure that parents are reasonably informed of all of these issues so that future accidents of this type do not happen, and parents and children will not have to suffer as we and Molly’s brothers have,” the letter stated.
According to the Steinsapirs, the company’s response was not productive.
“No amount of money can bring back our daughter, nor make it easy to relive the pain of her death again and again in the courts,” Kaye and Jonathan concluded. “But we can no longer sit silent as Rad ignores the life-threatening dangers its e-bikes pose to children and others, and by not addressing numerous other defects in its products.”
Rad Power Bikes provided an official statement in response to the filing.
“The entire Rad Power Bikes team extends its deepest condolences to the Steinsapir family on the tragic loss of Molly Steinsapir,” a representative said to the Post. “We are aware of the lawsuit that the family has filed. Rad Power Bikes does not comment on pending litigation, including this case, and therefore has no comment on the allegations in their complaint or the underlying accident.”
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