A Pacific Palisades girl has died in an electric bike accident. Her parents see a big danger

Enchanted Way is a small street in Pacific Palisades that offers breathtaking views of the ocean below.

But ever since their 12-year-old daughter died in an e-bike accident a year and a half ago, Jonathan and Kay Stinesapir have avoided the stately road near their home.

The couple filed a lawsuit this week against Rad Power bikes, a growing company whose product Molly Stainsapir was driving down the steep slope of Enchanted Way with a friend on January 1st. January 31, 2021. Stainsapir’s girlfriend tried to brake as they raced down the hill, but the bike didn’t stop and instead the girls lost control and were thrown onto the concrete, where Molly lay face down, unresponsive, her helmet still on, according to the lawsuit.

“I walked there. I haven’t been there since,” said 44-year-old Jonathan Steinsapir. “This is a really beautiful street with a great view of the ocean. That’s why the girls went there that day. I don’t know if I avoided it at first. Now I kind of have, because since then it has made more and more sense.”

“I can’t imagine ever going back to Enchanted Way again,” Kay, 44, added. “I can’t even get close to this place.”

Rad Power Bikes declined to comment on the lawsuit and questions about how it ensures that children do not use its adult products.

“The entire Rad Power Bikes team extends our deepest condolences to the Stainsapir family on the tragic loss of Molly Stainsapir,” Rad Power Bikes spokeswoman Brandi Gonzalez said in a statement.

They were at home a few blocks away when a neighbor called and said that Molly had been in an accident.

Molly Steinsapir (center) with her parents and two younger brothers.

Molly Stainsapir (center) died in an e-bike accident at the age of 12, along with her parents, Jonathan and Kay Stainsapir, and two younger brothers, Nathaniel and Eli.

(Steinsapir family)

As they pulled out of the driveway, an ambulance sped by and they followed it to the scene. The couple said they had an argument while driving to Enchanted Way, with Jonathan trying to convince Kay that their daughter had probably just broken a bone.

The Steinsapirs, who have two sons, Eli and Nathaniel, have lost a daughter. Molly died in the hospital a few weeks later after several brain surgeries. She never regained consciousness. Now Molly lives in a mural painted in May adorning the Pearson Theatertheater in Pacific Palisades, where she acted in such plays as “Guys and Dolls” and “Peter Pan”.

Time passed, and the mourning fog of the Steinsapirs thickened. Now they’re targeting the wider safety issue of e-bikes for kids, and specifically the Seattle-based company whose e-bike Molly rode.

The use of e-bikes and scooters has skyrocketed across the country and in Los Angeles. Rad Power Bikes alone boasts nearly 500,000 riders on their e-bikes and is one of several major manufacturers.

As usage has skyrocketed, the number of injuries across the country has risen. The Federal Consumer Product Safety Commission found a steady 70 percent increase in injuries on e-scooters, e-bikes and hoverboards from 2017 to 2020. The commission reported 71 deaths across the country during this period.

Overall bike safety has become a serious problem in cities across the country, activists are demanding that governments do more to protect them from cars. Los Angeles replied with plenty of bike lanes and a few safety lanes, but critics say it’s not enough.

As more kids use e-bikes, some communities have taken notice. Laguna Beach, for example, started training a program targeting youth after officials spotted children racing through the city.

Electric bike enthusiasts claim that the machines are safe when used properly.

But the Steinsapirs believe that not enough is being done to protect children.

“Rad Power Bikes is just turning a blind eye to the fact that kids under 16, under 18 are using their products all over the country,” Jonathan said. “They admit it’s inappropriate, but they’ve shown us they don’t want to do anything about it.”

The lawsuit notes that Rad Power Bikes – the biggest electric bike a company in North America that offers certain e-bikes with an optional passenger seat hides deeply the fact that its RadRunner bike must not be driven by people under 18 in the buyer’s guide. Warning listed on page 49 of 57.

Molly Steinsapir (center) with her two younger brothers, Nathaniel and Eli.

Molly Steinsapir (center) with her two younger brothers, Nathaniel and Eli.

(Jonathan Stainsapir)

“Take the kids with you,” the Rad Power Bikes website suggests to parents, along with a photo of a child in the back seat of an e-bike riding with an adult.

While the company mostly posts photos of kids riding in the back seat, the Instagram photo is from 2020. shows a boy sitting in the front seat or one bike. When one commenter suggested in the comments that the company was making “a child-sized Rada,” the company replied, “Or a child the size of Red.”

The Rad Power Bikes website also has numerous testimonials from parents touting the fact that their 10 year olds are riding their RadRunner e-bike without an adult.

“It can accommodate my 10 and 12 year old daughters as they drive down a very steep dirt road to my house,” wrote one man.

That’s the problem, the Steinsapirs argue.

“Part of their appeal is that they will take you to places you normally can’t go, including uphill,” said Olivier Taillier, the lawyer who filed the lawsuit for the Steinsapirs.

Molly and her friend drove all the way up the steep Enchanted Way uphill and lost control of the e-bike as they raced down.

Minors using electric bikes have been a problem ever since e-bikes and e-scooters have taken to the streets. While companies like Lime and Bird require riders to be over 18 and upload a driver’s license in order to rent an e-scooter, kids can get around the rules by using a parent’s account.

Experts say underage riding isn’t necessarily a problem.

“Older teens, while still technically minors, may have responsibilities outside the home, such as working after school, caring for relatives, or other duties that require them to move around,” said Sarah Kaufman, a professor who directs the New York City Rudin Center. university. Transport. “E-bikes can be especially useful for those commuting from school to work and then home.”

However, Kaufman added that speedy e-bikes can be very dangerous for young people like Molly, and that a sticker on a bike stating it’s for adults only could help keep kids from riding.

“You have a dangerous product run by children,” Taille said.

Mural dedicated to Molly Stainsapir

Mural dedicated to Molly Steinsapir.

(Wesley Lapointe/Los Angeles Times)

Steinsapirs also states possible mechanical issues with the RadRunner bike, saying the machine’s “disc brakes” and “quick release” front gear are “a known safety hazard in the industry.”

Track Bicycle Corp. recalled 1 million bikes due to a disc brake issue in 2015 after three riders were injured, one of whom was paralyzed.

The lawsuit suggests that the brake configuration on the RadRunner caused the e-bike to “rock” and shake when Molly’s friend pressed the front handbrake.

“I miss my daughter more than anything… They say that losing a child is the worst thing that can happen to you and all I can say is the truth. We continue, but it is very difficult.”

— Jonathan Stainsapir

Carissa Marsh says her 11-year-old son Rhett was unharmed on July 7 when the front wheel of the RadRunner he was riding on Manhattan Beach came off his bike, causing him to flip over the handlebars. He somehow landed on his feet, Marsh said.

“The bike literally just fell apart,” she added.

But the company did not take responsibility for the incident and blamed the swamps, she said. Rad Power Bikes did not immediately respond to questions about Rhett’s accident.

“Red needs to take responsibility,” Marsh said. “Stop blaming everyone else.”

In another incident in 2019, Coto de Casa resident Jennifer Fitzpatrick crashed after failing to slow her rented Rad e-bike as she raced down a hill at a Pelican Hill resort, she said in a lawsuit. Fitzpatrick, now 57, tried to turn off the bike but couldn’t and was thrown off the bike, suffered a concussion and briefly lost consciousness despite wearing a helmet.

“She repeatedly pressed the button, but [e-bike’s] the car has not been switched off repeatedly, and [e-bike] continued to pick up speed, because of which she could not slow down, ”the suit says.

“It was a terrible accident and in just a split second I was like, ‘Oh my God, that’s Jennifer,’” said her husband, Daniel Fitzpatrick, 64. “When I look at these kids riding e-bikes, I just imagine, right now as I look at them, the bike flipped over and they crashed.”

In its response to the lawsuit, Rad Power Bikes argued that Jennifer Fitzpatrick “apparently never used e-bike brakes.”

Daniel Fitzpatrick said he wasn’t sure if his wife slammed on the brakes.

“Cycling, whether electric, motorized or otherwise, is clearly a recreational activity with an inherent risk of harm that cannot be eliminated from the activity without changing the nature of the activity. Falling off a bike is an inherent risk when riding it,” Rad Power Bikes lawyers wrote in Fitzpatrick’s court filings.

The Fitzpatricks’ product liability and negligence case is set to go to jury next year.

“Our experience is not isolated,” said Kaye Steinsapir.

“More than anything, I miss my daughter. … They say that losing a child is the worst thing that can happen to you, and all I can say is the truth,” said Jonathan Stainsapir. “We’re continuing, but it’s very difficult.”