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Maryland cyclist sues Danish e-bike brand after fall

Published August 26, 2022

A version of this article ran in the August issue of Bicycle Retailer & Industry News.

By Dan Roe

BALTIMORE (BRAIN) — A lawsuit in Maryland federal court alleges the front fork of a Mate.Bike folding e-bike failed as plaintiff Benjamin White rode off a curb, allegedly causing White severe injuries and permanent disfigurement.

White's attorneys are asking the court for $1 million in damages for each of five counts, which accuse the Danish e-bike company of breaching Maryland commercial law, negligently selling and designing a faulty e-bike, and being liable for the White's injuries.

In a statement, a Mate.Bike spokesperson said the company is aware of the lawsuit and will investigate the allegations thoroughly through litigation. "Mate is committed to the safety of its products and undertakes diligent quality checks to give its riders a secure experience," the spokesperson said.

White's attorney, Jacob Bradshaw of Washington D.C.-area personal injury firm Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis, didn't respond to inquiries about the lawsuit at press time. Neither did Marc Casarino, the attorney hired by Mate.Bike to defend the lawsuit, who indicated in court documents that the company would respond to the complaint by mid-August.

Casarino, who recently opened the Delaware office of global law firm Kennedys, is likely busy these days, as he's also representing lawyer Sidney Powell — the former Trump advisor who advised the former president on overturning the 2020 election — in a defamation case filed by Dominion Voting Machines.

The crash occurred around June 15, 2020, according to the complaint, as White was riding his new Mate X e-bike near Germantown, Maryland. The complaint says that after the "fork assembly" snapped in half upon dropping off the curb, the bike collapsed beneath White, throwing him onto the road. According to the complaint, the bike's suspension fork wasn't sufficiently durable to withstand ordinary riding.

The original Mate X debuted around 2016, the product of an Indiegogo campaign that raised over $17 million. Danish siblings Julie Kronstrøm and Christian Adel Michael's folding, fat-tire e-bike was among the most successful crowd-funded e-bikes of its type at the time, but thousands of comments on the campaign and elsewhere indicate that the company struggled with fulfillment and quality issues.

"At the time as a tiny crowdfunding campaign, we 'bit off way more than we could chew' by offering lots of various options and add-ons and to every party of the world," a Mate.Bike employee told a frustrated customer in the campaign's comments earlier this year, offering him a refund on a rack he had ordered.

Elsewhere, riders reported a metallic clunk from the bike's front and rear suspension when they dropped off curbs. Another rider said his bike's front quick release failed as he dropped off of a curb, causing him to fall on his face and be airlifted to the hospital.
The current Mate X, which starts at $2,799, appears identical to the original that launched on Indiegogo. The company advertises a 750-watt motor and a 120-kilometer range.

Topics associated with this article: From the Magazine

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