New claims were filed against Harley-Davidson Motor Company alleging that the company knowingly sold thousands of motorcycles with defects in their anti-lock braking systems (ABS). The models listed in the suit are the 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 Touring and CVO Touring models.
According to the suit, when these models were sold the company instructed riders who had purchased the models with ABS to use a specific braking technique in emergency situations. The practice was not recommended for non-ABS bikes and the company in fact noted that using this breaking technique with a non-ABS motorcycle could lead to loss of control of the motorcycle leading to death or serious injury.
This ABS-recommended braking technique is now at issue because, according to the suit, Harley Davidson discovered in 2008 that during “normal operation” the wires connecting the speed sensor to the engine control unit were prone to break, rendering the ABS nonfunctional. If the rider then tried to use the ABS-recommended braking technique, the rider would be at significant risk because the rider would have “no obvious warning” that the ABS was not working and that the braking technique could lead to injury. Despite being aware of this defect, the company continued to sell the motorcycles until 2010. It wasn’t until 2011 that the company fixed the ABS wiring issue.
In 2016, when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) examined ABS-related complaints concerning a defective hydraulic control unit, the NHTSA urged Harley Davidson to recall the 2008-2010 Touring and CVO Touring motorcycles to correct the hydraulic problem. Despite the recall, according to the lawsuit, the company “took no steps whatsoever to address the separate, dangerous problem” of the faulty ABS units. The suit notes that “to this day Harley-Davidson has not issued any public notice, owner communication, warranty modification, buyback program, or recall for the tens of thousands” of models with the defective ABS system.
The Garcia v. Harley-Davidson Motor Co. Inc. case is proceeding.
If you own one of the models noted above, it is important you contact your motorcycle dealership concerning next steps.