A Pacific Palisades woman was killed in an electrical bike crash. Her dad and mom see larger hazard

Enchanted Method is somewhat road within the Pacific Palisades with breathtaking views of the ocean unfold out under.

However ever since their 12-year-old daughter died in an e-bike crash on the block a 12 months and a half in the past, Jonathan and Kaye Steinsapir have prevented the majestic street close to their home.

The couple filed swimsuit this week in opposition to Rad Energy Bikes, the burgeoning firm whose product Molly Steinsapir was using down the steep hill of Enchanted Method with a buddy on Jan. 31, 2021. Steinsapir’s buddy tried to brake as they sped downhill, however the bike didn’t cease, and as an alternative the women misplaced management and have been thrown to the concrete, the place Molly lay face down, unresponsive, her helmet nonetheless on, in line with the lawsuit.

“I used to walk there. I have not been up there since,” Jonathan Steinsapir, 44, mentioned. “It’s a really beautiful street with beautiful ocean views. That’s why the girls rode up there that day. I don’t know if I avoided it at first. Now I kind of have because it brings on more and more meaning not having gone there since.”

“I can’t imagine ever going back to Enchanted Way again,” Kaye, 44, added. “I can’t even approach that area.”

Rad Energy Bikes declined to touch upon the lawsuit and on questions on the way it makes positive youngsters don’t use its merchandise meant for adults.

“The entire Rad Power Bikes team extends its deepest condolences to the Steinsapir family on the tragic loss of Molly Steinsapir,” Brandie Gonzales, a spokeswoman for Rad Energy Bikes, mentioned in a press release.

They have been at dwelling a couple of blocks away when a neighbor known as and advised them Molly had been in an accident.

Molly Steinsapir, heart, who died in an e-bike crash at age 12, together with her dad and mom, Jonathan and Kaye Steinsapir, and her two youthful brothers, Nathaniel and Eli.

(Steinsapir household)

As they pulled out of their driveway, an ambulance sped previous, and so they adopted it to the scene. The couple mentioned they bickered as they drove to Enchanted Method, with Jonathan attempting to persuade Kaye that their daughter had in all probability simply damaged a bone.

The Steinsapirs, who’ve two boys, Eli and Nathaniel, misplaced their daughter. Molly died within the hospital a couple of weeks later after a number of mind surgical procedures. She by no means regained consciousness. Now Molly lives on in a mural painted in Could that adorns the Pierson Playhouse, a theater within the Pacific Palisades the place she acted in performs like “Guys and Dolls” and “Peter Pan.”

Time handed and the Steinsapirs’ fog of mourning hardened. They’re now taking goal on the bigger subject of e-bike security for youngsters and particularly on the Seattle-based firm whose e-bike Molly was using.

E-bike and scooter use has surged throughout the nation and in Los Angeles. Rad Energy Bikes alone boasts having almost 500,000 riders on their e-bikes, and it’s considered one of a number of main producers.

As use has skyrocketed, so have accidents throughout the nation. The federal Client Product Security Fee discovered a gentle 70% rise in accidents on e-scooters, e-bikes, and hoverboards from 2017 to 2020. The fee reported 71 fatalities throughout the nation over that interval.

Bike security basically has grow to be a serious subject in cities throughout the nation, with activists demanding governments do extra to guard them from automobiles. Los Angeles responded with extra bike lanes and a few protecting lanes, however critics say it’s not sufficient.

As extra youngsters use e-bikes, some communities have taken discover. Laguna Seaside, for instance, launched an training program aimed toward younger folks after officers seen youngsters dashing via city.

E-bike lovers argue the machines are protected if used correctly.

However the Steinsapirs really feel not sufficient is being performed to guard youngsters.

“Rad Power Bikes has simply turned a blind eye to the fact that children under 16, under 18 are using their products all over the country,” Jonathan mentioned. “They acknowledge that’s inappropriate, but they have shown us they’re not willing to do anything about it.”

The swimsuit notes that Rad Energy Bikes — the biggest e-bike firm in North America, providing sure e-bikes that function an additional seat for a passenger — buries the truth that its RadRunner bike shouldn’t be operated by folks underneath 18 deep within the purchaser’s handbook. The warning is listed on web page 49 of 57.

Molly Steinsapir, middle, with her two younger brothers, Nathaniel and Eli

Molly Steinsapir, center, together with her two youthful brothers, Nathaniel and Eli.

(Jonathan Steinsapir)

“Carry your kids,” the Rad Energy Bikes web site suggests to folks together with a photograph of a child on the backseat of an e-bike using with an grownup.

Whereas the corporate principally posts pictures of children using within the backseat, an Instagram image from 2020 reveals a younger boy sitting within the entrance seat of a motorcycle alone. When one commenter advised within the feedback that the corporate make a “child sized rad,” the corporate responded, “Or a Rad sized child.”

The Rad Energy Bikes web site additionally options quite a few critiques from dad and mom who tout the truth that their youngsters, as younger as 10, trip their RadRunner e-bike with out adults.

“It can accommodate my 10 and 12-year-old daughters as they ride up the very steep dirt road to my home,” wrote one man.

That’s precisely the issue, argue the Steinsapirs.

“Part of their appeal is they take you places you wouldn’t normally be able to go, which includes uphill,” mentioned Olivier Taillieu, the lawyer who filed swimsuit for the Steinsapirs.

Molly and her buddy had ridden all the best way up the steep climb of Enchanted Method and misplaced management of the e-bike as they sped again down.

Minors utilizing electrical bikes has been a problem since e-bikes and e-scooters hit the streets. Whereas firms like Lime and Chicken require riders to be 18 and add a driver’s license so as to hire an e-scooter, youngsters can circumvent the foundations by utilizing a father or mother’s account.

Underage using just isn’t essentially an issue, consultants say.

“Older teens, while technically still minors, may have responsibilities outside the home like after-school jobs or caring for relatives or other responsibilities that require them to move around,” mentioned Sarah Kaufman, a professor who runs the New York College Rudin Middle for Transportation. “E-bikes can be especially helpful for someone going from school to a job and then home.”

Kaufman added, nevertheless, that speedy e-bikes will be very harmful for folks as younger as Molly and {that a} sticker on the bike noting it’s for grownup use solely might assist preserve youngsters from using.

“You’ve got a dangerous product being operated by children,” Taillieu mentioned.

A mural dedicated to Molly Steinsapir

A mural devoted to Molly Steinsapir.

(Wesley Lapointe / Los Angeles Occasions)

The Steinsapirs’ swimsuit additionally alleges doable mechanical points with the RadRunner bike, saying the machine’s “disc brakes” and “quick release” front-wheel mechanism are “a known safety hazard in the industry.”

Trek Bicycle Corp. recalled 1 million bikes over a disc brakes subject in 2015 after three riders have been injured — one paralyzed.

The lawsuit means that the brake configuration on the RadRunner triggered the e-bike to “wobble” and shake when Molly’s buddy pulled on the entrance hand brake.

“I miss my daughter more than anything … They say the loss of a child is like the worst thing that can possibly happen to you and all I can say is that’s true. We go on but it’s very difficult.”

— Jonathan Steinsapir

Karissa Marsh says her 11-year-old son Rhett was unhurt July 7 when the entrance wheel of the RadRunner he was using in Manhattan Seaside indifferent from the bike, sending him flipping over the handlebars. He by some means landed on his ft, Marsh mentioned.

“The bike literally just fell apart,” she added.

However the firm took no accountability for the incident and blamed the Marshes, she mentioned. Rad Energy Bikes didn’t instantly reply to questions on Rhett’s accident.

“Rad needs to take responsibility,” Marsh mentioned. “Stop blaming everybody else.”

In one other incident in 2019, Coto de Caza resident Jennifer Fitzpatrick crashed after she couldn’t sluggish her rented Rad e-bike as she sped down a hill on the Resort at Pelican Hill, she claimed in a lawsuit. Fitzpatrick, now 57, tried to energy the bike down however couldn’t and was thrown from the bike and left concussed and briefly unconscious regardless of carrying a helmet, a lawsuit filed final 12 months in Orange County claims.

“She repeatedly pushed the button, but the [e-bike’s] motor repeatedly failed to shut down, and the [e-bike] continued to pick up speed, making it impossible for her to slow down,” the swimsuit says.

“It was a horrendous crash and just a split second later I thought, ‘Oh, my God, that’s Jennifer,’” mentioned her husband, Daniel Fitzpatrick, 64. “When I look at these kids riding e-bikes I just envision if right now as I’m looking at them the bike tipped over and they crashed.”

Rad Energy Bikes argued in its response to the lawsuit that Jennifer Fitzpatrick “apparently never applied the e-bike’s brakes.”

Daniel Fitzpatrick mentioned he was undecided if his spouse utilized the brakes.

“Riding a bicycle, electric, motorized or otherwise is clearly a recreational activity with inherent risks of harm that cannot be eliminated from the activity without altering the fundamental nature of the activity. Falling off a bicycle is an inherent risk in riding one,” wrote attorneys for Rad Energy Bikes in court docket papers within the Fitzpatrick case.

The Fitzpatricks’ product legal responsibility and negligence case is ready to go earlier than a jury subsequent 12 months.

“Our experience is not isolated,” Kaye Steinsapir mentioned.

“I miss my daughter more than anything. … They say the loss of a child is like the worst thing that can possibly happen to you and all I can say is that’s true,” Jonathan Steinsapir mentioned. “We go on, but it’s very difficult.”