A Texas rider is suing Yamaha Motor Co claiming he was paralysed in a crash because of a sticky throttle on his FZ-09 that was the subject of a “silent”, not public, safety recall.
The recall notice was issued to American dealers to fix the problem only if owners complained. There was no public recall through official channels.
The Texan rider, Isaac De Lua-Ruiz, 36, is now a paraplegic after crashing his 2016 bike in a carpark when the throttle jammed.
(The throttle issue did not affect Australia where the FZ-09 is called the MT-09.)
The issue brings to light the dangers of motorcycle companies issuing these so-called “silent recalls”, instead of a proper public recall through official channels. (In fact, this Texan case was worse than a silent recall as owners only had the problem fixed if they complained.)
Silent or in-house recalls happen occasionally and the first an owner knows about it is when their bike has been fixed while in for its scheduled service.
A few years ago, my BMW F 800 GS went in for a service and when it came back I noticed it had a new chain and rear sprocket. I inquired about it and the dealer told me it was a recall.
However, there had been no public safety recall notice issued through the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission nor posted on their website.
Most companies do the right thing and issue a public safety recall and back it up with a letter to the owners.
However, if the bike has changed hands in a private sale, the manufacturer no longer has a record of the current owner to alert about a safety issue or fault.
That’s why Motorbike Writer publishes all road motorcycle safety recalls.
Obviously we can’t reach everyone, so more should be done for manufacturers to be made aware of current owners.
Surely in these days of networked computers, the change of ownership details could be sent to the manufacturer at least for vehicles up to a certain age.
Recall notices are issued by the manufacturer through a voluntary industry code under the ACCC.
Despite hundreds of recalls by various automotive manufacturers, none has ever been mandatory. All have been issued by the manufacturer.
While any recall is not good news for the manufacturer, it shows that they are largely diligent in fixing problems.
If you believe there is an endemic problem with your bike that should be recalled, contact the ACCC on 1300 302 502.
To check whether your motorcycle has been recalled, click on these sites: