The failure of a Kinesis fork caused the crash that led to the death of an Essex cyclist in August last year, an inquest has heard — and around 1,750 potentially faulty forks are still unaccounted for despite a product recall.
Jonathan Weatherley died after braking suddenly on his Kinesis Racelight TK2 on August 23 last year, while possibly trying to avoid debris or animals in the road.
On October 9 2015, a product recall for four models of Racelight T carbon fork was issued, after a bonding issue between the fork crown and fork steerer was discovered on forks sold between 2003 and 2009. However, just 246 of the forks have since been returned.
At an inquest into the man’s death, Senior Coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray is reported by the Halstead Gazette as saying: “Jonathan was clearly a much loved son and brother, he was an architect and a keen cyclist.
“Jonathan Weatherley probably applied braking through his front brakes for some unknown reason, causing the bonding between the carbon fibre blades and aluminium crown to fail, as a result of the fact that the bonding material had not adequately bonded these components together.
“Jonathan died as a result of his injuries sustained in this accident.”
Alistair Mackenzie, of Leigh Day solicitors, asked the coroner to make a report to trading standards to prevent further deaths.
He said: “Around 90 per cent of the products have not been taken from circulation and only 246 of about 2,000 have been returned.”
PC Katherine Burke, of the Serious Collision Investigation Unit with Essex Police, told the Gazette the man was found in the carriageway entangled in the bike. A passer by had found him and called paramedics at 3.40pm, and PC Burke arrived 75 minutes later. According to his Garmin he had stopped cycling some 90 minutes before he was found.
PC Burke said: “The bicycle’s front wheel was detached and located close by up against a bank.”
Steven North, representing Upgrade Bikes Ltd, told the Gazette all efforts were made to circulate the recall notice once the fault had been discovered.
He said: “It was sent to shops, put on the company website and circulated on social media. Action has been taken and will continue to be taken.
“There is one report of a problem with the bonding material on the crown. The company will update the recall notice and Trading Standards.”
The case illustrates the difficulty of reaching everyone who has bought a particular component, rather than a bike. Dealers usually have records of bike purchases, but for components the paper trail is understandably less thorough.
Since the forks in question go back all the way to 2003, it's also possible that many of the 1,750 missing forks have long since been binned.
Nevertheless if you're using a fork with any of the stickers above, you should immediately stop using it and contact Upgrade Bikes.
Upgrade Bikes told road.cc: “Upgrade Bikes Limited continue to cooperate with Trading Standards. Whilst this process is ongoing it would be inappropriate to provide any further comment.”
Additional reporting by John Stevenson