We are currently investigating reports of bicycle wheels dropping out of the open ended dropouts of the front forks of bicycles not equipped with a quick release device or wheel retainers. Our client, a 10 year old boy, suffered serious internal injuries when the front wheel dropped out of the open ended drop outs of the front forks of his bicycle. The bicycle was a Mongoose "Project X" seven (7) speed boys mountain bike (Model No. R1586WMAT), marketed by the Brunswick Corporation.
Our preliminary investigation indicates that this accident could have been prevented if the bicycle had been designed with a closed end front fork assembly, a quick release device, or an adequate positive retention device such as a wheel retainer or safety clip. This bicycle, however, used a groove that was molded, cast, or machined into the outer face of the front fork drop outs as its positive retention device. It may be that this type of positive retention device is inadequate for preventing the premature release of bicycle wheels.
The Brunswick Corporation has marketed the Mongoose and Roadmaster bicycle lines. This bicycle was sold by Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. on December 18, 1999.