US biker sues Harley in ABS light case

Interesting case could affect future production from all manufacturers

AN AMERICAN who crashed his Harley-Davidson, causing his wife who was pillion to end up brain damaged, is suing Harley-Davidson as he claims he thought his motorcycle was equipped with ABS.

Jack Wilson, who crashed on Highway 99 in California, told the Highway Patrol that his anti-lock braking system had somehow malfunctioned, however, his bike, a 2008 Harley-Davidson Road Glide was never fitted with ABS.

Wilson claims the icon on the motorcycle's idiot lights suggested that it did have ABS. He also claimed the salesman who sold him the bike gave him an elbow-to-the-ribs-type aside and said 'chicks love ABS'.

The defence are claiming that the manufacturer puts this icon on all bikes to ensure that bikes that do have ABS will definitely have the accompanying light. The defence lawyer went on to say: "There's nothing odd or unique about a non-ABS bike having ABS. If the icon doesn't light up when you start the bike, anybody should know you don't have ABS."

The defence have laid the blame squarely at Wilson's door, saying: "He should have known the bike's features after riding it for 15 months and 12,000 miles."

Wilson's wife Judy has been left with skull, facial, rib and scapular fractures and now has a prosthetic skull and permanent brain softening. Pain and assorted disorders will render her unemployable forever, said her lawyer.

In what has become a highly controversial case, the jury have to decide whether Harley-Davidson's product bears a design defect in the form of the 'ABS' icon. If Harley-Davidson are found to be at fault, they'll liable to pay around $3 million (£1.9m) to Wilson and will no-doubt have to issue a huge recall.

The case continues.

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