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NHTSA Investigates Harley-Davidson Motorcycles That Reportedly Have Brake Failure Problems

On the heels of a Harley-Davidson recall of bikes with faulty ignition switches, federal auto safety officials are looking into a number of complaints about Harley-Davidson motorcycles affected by brake failure issues that have caused serious motorcycle accidents.

Several consumers came forward to indicate that their Harley-Davidson motorcycles had suffered from brake failure without warning. It is alleged that the brake fluid in the anti-lock braking system may absorb too much moisture and then suddenly fail. According to the majority of complainants, the front brake hand lever or the rear brake foot pedal would fail and make it difficult to slow down the motorcycle.

There were a total of 43 complaints, with at least three reports of motorcycle crashes. In two of those motorcycle accidents, the bike riders and/or passengers sustained physical injuries, according to federal traffic safety regulators. One of the injured riders crashed into a garage door when he could not bring the motorcycle to a complete stop. There have not been any reports of fatalities.

Now the federal government is getting involved, with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announcing that it will be opening an investigation into the complaints about brake failure on Harley-Davidson bikes. The investigation could be massive, as it involves approximately 430,000 motorcycles manufactured by Harley Davidson between 2008 and 2011. All of the affected motorcycles are equipped with anti-lock braking systems.

After the federal government announced its investigation into the possible manufacturing defect, Harley-Davidson issued a press release indicating that the world-renowned bike manufacturer is fully cooperating with the NHTSA during the investigation.

At this time, it is unclear if any of the reported motorcycle accidents were caused by a manufacturing or design defect, some other product defect, or negligence by the bike riders themselves. For instance, noted the NHTSA, it is possible that the individuals who were injured in the bike crashes may have failed to replace their brake fluid within a timely period. Typically, the brake fluid in a Harley-Davidson motorcycle is supposed be replaced every two years.

For additional information, read the article, “NHTSA to Probe Harley-Davidson Motorcycles for Brake Failure.”


If you or someone you love has been injured in a serious motorcycle accident, whether the motorcycle crash was caused by a negligent motorist or a defective auto part, you need to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer who is passionate about fighting for the rights of motorcyclists. Andrew S. Prince of Team Law will work tirelessly to ensure that you get compensated in your personal injury or product liability lawsuit.