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-   -   Accidents caused by non/mal-functioning brakes? (http://www.bikeforums.net/advocacy-safety/829315-accidents-caused-non-mal-functioning-brakes.html)

vol 05-25-13 10:22 PM

Here are more reports about the accident:

Dad tells inquest of moments before teen cyclist's death at Marlborough

Kadian Harding inquest: Coroner raises bike safety concerns

'Summing up at the inquest Mr Ridley said the front brake suffered a "complete catastrophic failure" due to the pinch bolt "more likely than not being sufficiently tight" and causing the cantilever not to function at all.'

Parents of 14-year-old Marlborough bike crash victim Kadian Harding to take legal action

'Recording his verdict, Mr Ridley said the front brake suffered “a complete catastrophic failure”, which was probably due to the pinch bolt on the front yoke not being tight enough.

He said the rear brake had some function but it was “unclear as to the extent of its function”.
'

Family to take legal action against bike shop after teenage boy killed when his front brake failed

'"The evidence from the police vehicle examiner involved in this case was clear that Kadian's death was caused by the failure of both front and back brakes. The coroner also agreed that there had been catastrophic failure of the front brake and that the back brake was not working sufficiently so as to stop the bicycle in an emergency, therefore the family will be pursuing legal action against Acceler8."'

lubes17319 05-26-13 07:14 AM

A buddy found out the hard way that one must be sure to clear ALL the air from hydro brakes before coming off the top of a 14-er. The little bubble he unknowingly carried up expanded a whole lot at that altitude.

Looigi 05-26-13 09:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FBinNY (Post 15666910)
Bicycles are equipped with 2 independent brakes. this redundancy makes it nearly impossible to have an accident caused brake failure alone. Granted, the failure of one brake can increase the braking distance leading to a possible accident, but even this is unlikely if the rider rides in control. ...

I often ride fast enough and brake late enough that a rear brake alone would be insufficient to stop me in time to avoid collision or a crash. That's riding in control, but with less margin.

howsteepisit 05-26-13 10:31 AM

A sealed system is not affected by atmospheric pressure, the air bubble expanded due to adiabatic heating in the system when the brake was used.

rekmeyata 05-26-13 10:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FBinNY (Post 15666910)
Bicycles are equipped with 2 independent brakes. this redundancy makes it nearly impossible to have an accident caused brake failure alone. Granted, the failure of one brake can increase the braking distance leading to a possible accident, but even this is unlikely if the rider rides in control.

The accident described in the UK newspaper happening because of brake failure is unlikely almost to the point of impossibility. It would have requires total failure of not one but both brakes -- such as might happen from shoes falling off, or cables breaking. Either brake alone would have been enough to prevent runaway acceleration even on a super steep hill.

I'll venture that a forensic examination of the brakes will show them to be functional, and the actual cause to be a form of user error.

BTW- user error due to panic is far more common that you might think. Both adults and children, on bicycles and in automobiles, often crash simply because they never even tried to apply the brakes.


You're absolutely correct. People do weird things in panic situations. Some people found to never hit the brakes in their cars because they hit the throttle instead! Some people drive with one foot on the gas and the other resting on the brake pedal, panic occurs and they hit both pedals hard. Some people may have their foot on resting on the floor, panic occurs and they press hard into the floor. Some people simply freeze with the feet not doing anything.

I agree that when the investigation is done on the bike accident I'm 99% sure it will be operator error.

CB HI 05-26-13 01:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rekmeyata (Post 15669208)
You're absolutely correct. People do weird things in panic situations. Some people found to never hit the brakes in their cars because they hit the throttle instead! Some people drive with one foot on the gas and the other resting on the brake pedal, panic occurs and they hit both pedals hard. Some people may have their foot on resting on the floor, panic occurs and they press hard into the floor. Some people simply freeze with the feet not doing anything.

I agree that when the investigation is done on the bike accident I'm 99% sure it will be operator error.

If you had bothered to read the links in post 51, you would have found out that you are 99% wrong, at least according to the inquest.

KD5NRH 05-26-13 03:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kenji666 (Post 15666324)
What if your car accelerator stuck while going 70 mph?

Mash the clutch, pull it out of gear and turn the key off so the engine doesn't keep over-revving.

Quote:

What if your car brakes failed going that fast?
Downshift. Repeat until idling in first, then turn the key off.

dynaryder 05-26-13 05:32 PM

From what I can tell,the levers on a stock build LHT have those buttons that slack the cables for disconnecting the brakes. Wondering if they could have been the cause? Maybe the kid was riding and wondered what they did,and played with them. Just a thought.

rekmeyata 05-26-13 08:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CB HI (Post 15669707)
If you had bothered to read the links in post 51, you would have found out that you are 99% wrong, at least according to the inquest.

The person had two brakes, the other brake would have stopped him. It sounds like the parents did not make sure the bike was in top running condition and that's why there is a question about the rear brake which we haven't heard yet if that's even true. If the bike was damaged severely in the crash there may be no way of determining if the bike had a major failure of both brakes.

If those stories are accurate then the parents should be held responsible because in the first story they tell the press they knew the bike had a problem and was concerned about it. If the parents were so damn concerned then they should have told the son not to use the bike! The kid was 14 not 18, the parents still have the right to restrict him, and they should have until dad, or both kid and dad took the bike in the car to the shop and have the bike checked out. I never let any of my kids ride their bikes till I checked it out once a week, and if there was an issue I fixed it, now obviously it sounded like the dad didn't know how to fix bikes, so what? He should have at least taken the bike for the kid to get it fixed right.

I'm sorry a kid lost his life, but this is the fault of the parents not the bike shop because the parents had foreknowledge of the problem and failed to take action.

vol 05-26-13 08:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dynaryder (Post 15670284)
Maybe the kid was riding and wondered what they did,and played with them.

Or maybe the bike shop owner's dog chewed on the pinch bolt on the front yoke making it loose.

CB HI 05-26-13 08:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rekmeyata (Post 15670793)
The person had two brakes, the other brake would have stopped him. It sounds like the parents did not make sure the bike was in top running condition and that's why there is a question about the rear brake which we haven't heard yet if that's even true. If the bike was damaged severely in the crash there may be no way of determining if the bike had a major failure of both brakes.

If those stories are accurate then the parents should be held responsible because in the first story they tell the press they knew the bike had a problem and was concerned about it. If the parents were so damn concerned then they should have told the son not to use the bike! The kid was 14 not 18, the parents still have the right to restrict him, and they should have until dad, or both kid and dad took the bike in the car to the shop and have the bike checked out. I never let any of my kids ride their bikes till I checked it out once a week, and if there was an issue I fixed it, now obviously it sounded like the dad didn't know how to fix bikes, so what? He should have at least taken the bike for the kid to get it fixed right.

I'm sorry a kid lost his life, but this is the fault of the parents not the bike shop because the parents had foreknowledge of the problem and failed to take action.

Are you trying to argue with me or the inquest determination. The inquest completed their determination and they disagreed with you. Take your disagreement up with them, not me.

turbo1889 05-27-13 01:28 AM

So far I've not suffered brake failure - or more correctly both front and rear brakes failing together - I've had one or the other fail a few times but then you just stop with the other brake that is still working. If your riding so aggressively that you can't stop in time with only one brake then you either need better brakes or need to not ride that aggressively for your own safety.

Now, I did have someone grease my brake pads (old style short pull rim brakes) once and thankfully I figured out what was up the first time I tried to use them and was able to slow down and stop and then had to spend a good 30 minutes cleaning all the grease off the rims and pads and then using my pocket knife to shave of a thin slice off the working face of the pads to expose fresh non grease impregnated rubber. Figured which punk did it to me and beat him up for it - that happened a long time ago when I was in school. Could have been very bad if the first time I had used the brakes I had been in a position where I had to stop at a busy intersection or such. Ever since then I test both brakes in the first few seconds every time I jump on a bike.

rekmeyata 05-27-13 08:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CB HI (Post 15670830)
Are you trying to argue with me or the inquest determination. The inquest completed their determination and they disagreed with you. Take your disagreement up with them, not me.

No, I wasn't arguing with you, I was just stating the obvious about the situation and not about what you said.

FBinNY 05-27-13 09:48 AM

Vol.

This thread has gotten focused on debate about the specifics of the accident you referenced, but I want to addrss your original question.

Dual brake failure resulting in total loss of braking is almost unheard of, the specific case not withstanding. I want to try to put at ease by reminding you that have 2 completely independent brakes, either of which will stop the bike though the rear alone will need more distance. The odds of both brakes failing simultaneously on a well maintained bike are astronomical.

As I said, my odds are based on both being OK before you start, so that's something you can check by applying both in the first few yards when you first start any ride. Also when I used to lead trips, I used to have the trippers do a quicky brake check as they started any long or steep descent, just to make sure.

Then when on fast descents where a stop would be required at some point, test braking well in advance helps you judge what the stopping needs will be later and gauge when you need to begin slowing down. This isn't so much about testing the brakes (which were checked earlier) but planning ahead because inexperienced cyclists often don't realize how much room is needed to stop safely from high speed, and end up in panic stops.

After 50 years and over 100,000 miles of riding, I still perform these brake tests, even though I've never had a mechanical failure. However on my bikes, it's possible that the brake release is left open, so these checks are good habits to prevent accidents through stupidity.

Between the redundancy, and by developing good habits you can bring the likelihood of an accident caused by brake failure down to as close to zero as you can imagine.

I hope this helps.

vol 05-27-13 03:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by turbo1889 (Post 15671234)
Now, I did have someone grease my brake pads once ... Figured which punk did it to me and beat him up for it

:lol: Thanks for sharing.

After I lube my bike, occasionally the lube drips on the rim, causing similar effect, so I always make sure to wipe it clean.

FBinNY, thank you for your advice. I'll definitely check the brakes before each ride.

Quote:

Originally Posted by rekmeyata (Post 15671773)
I was just stating the obvious about the situation

What's obvious was the conclusion of the inquest by the coroner (quoted 3 times above). What's obvious hardly requires 3 paragraphs 250+ words. :)


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