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By Jim Adler June 12, 2015

Starting April 23, 2015, Harley-Davidson Motor Co. is recalling almost 46,000 motorcycles due to a clutch defect which might keep them in gear because clutches fail to disengage completely. Such a defect could make the bikes move unexpectedly when put in gear and cause a crash injuring the rider.

Harley-Davidson also issued a safety recall for 8,904 XG750 and XG500 bikes from model year 2015 because they might lack a rear reflector assembly and thus wouldn’t comply with federal guidelines. Dealers will provide and install the reflector for free.

Four Injuries Due to Defect

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in a recall notice, the clutch master cylinder defect has led to 313 warranty claims, 31 complaints by customers and 27 reports of crashes, with four persons suffering what were believed to be minor injuries.

Totaling 45,901 “big bikes,” the models affected by the clutch motorcycle recall include:

  • 2014 CVO Road King
  • 2014-2015 Street Glide, Street Glide Special, CVO Street Glide, Ultra Limited, Electra Glide Ultra Classic, Ultra Classic-Twin Cooled and Police Electra Glide
  • 2015 Road Glide, Road Glide Special, Ultra Limited Low, Ultra Classic Low-Twin Cooled and Electra Glide Ultra Classic Low

The motorcycles’ Milwaukee, WI-based manufacturer says gas bubbles could make the clutch master cylinder lose its power to disengage the clutch completely, particularly if the motorcycle has been parked for an extensive period. This involves a chemical reaction within the clutch system causing gas bubbles, which then cause loss of clutch life.

Due to this clutch defect, the motorcycle could go out of control if it’s turned on while still in gear.

Dealers to Make Repairs for Free

Owners of the affected motorcycles can take them to their dealer, who will make repairs free of charge. That will involve flushing the clutch and rebuilding the motorcycle’s master cylinder. Owners will receive notices from Harley-Davidson with such information.

The largest motorcycle manufacturer in America, Harley-Davidson issued an apology to its customers, saying “We’re riders, too, so share in the frustration. Customer safety is our first priority.”

The NHTSA issued a motorcycle recall notice regarding the vehicles, known as “big bore” bikes because their cylinders are bored out to provide more power at the cost of greater fuel consumption. The increase in horsepower also typically involves an increase in noise levels.

Just last year, Harley-Davidson recalled over 105,000 motorcycles from the 2014 model year due to a defect which could cause clutches to fail, allowing a stopped motorcycle to move forward and possibly crash. Models affected included the CVO Road King and the Electra Glide Ultra Classic.

The manufacturer claims it was aware of 19 low-speed tip-over accidents and three injuries related to that defect.

Also in 2014, Harley-Davidson recalled 1,384 motorcycles in order to test them for the possibility of a leak in their fuel tanks. The company said it knew of no accidents or fires due to that Harley-Davidson recall defect.

Motorcycles can be hazardous enough without compounding their risks due to defective motorcycle parts. In fact, the U.S. Department of Transportation says motorcyclists are 35 times more apt to suffer a deadly crash than persons in passenger cars.

Head Injury Causes Most Motorcycle Deaths

The chief cause of deaths in motorcycle crashes is head injury. The U.S. DOT says motorcyclists who don’t wear helmets are 40% more likely to die from a head injury in a crash than those who do wear helmets.

In 1997, Texas became one of the first states to repeal its law requiring all motorcycle riders — drivers and passengers — to wear a protective helmet. Fatalities then rose by 31%.

The only persons required by Texas motorcycle laws to wear a helmet are riders below age 21 and older riders who lack a minimum of $10,000 in medical insurance coverage or who haven’t completed a rider education course.

But while motorcyclists can increase their danger of death by not wearing a helmet, the actual causes of motorcycle crashes are led by the failure of other drivers in cars or other larger vehicles to note and heed motorcycles in traffic. Such drivers often say they didn’t see a motorcycle before turning in front of it and causing a crash.

Get a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, alert Jim Adler & Associates. Our law firm has skilled and experienced motorcycle accident lawyers and attorneys to fight for your legal rights to financial recovery for your losses.

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