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Why safety recalls should be public

Texan rider Isaac De Lua-Ruiz safety recall
Texan rider Isaac De Lua-Ruiz

A Texas rider is suing Yamaha Motor Co claiming he was paralysed in a crash because of a sticky throttle on his FZ-09 that was the subject of a “silent”, not public, safety recall.

The recall notice was issued to American dealers to fix the problem only if owners complained. There was no public recall through official channels.

The Texan rider, Isaac De Lua-Ruiz, 36, is now a paraplegic after crashing his 2016 bike in a carpark when the throttle jammed.

2014 Yamaha FZ-09 safety recall
2014 Yamaha FZ-09

(The throttle issue did not affect Australia where the FZ-09 is called the MT-09.)

The issue brings to light the dangers of motorcycle companies issuing these so-called “silent recalls”, instead of a proper public recall through official channels. (In fact, this Texan case was worse than a silent recall as owners only had the problem fixed if they complained.)

Silent or in-house recalls happen occasionally and the first an owner knows about it is when their bike has been fixed while in for its scheduled service.

A few years ago, my BMW F 800 GS went in for a service and when it came back I noticed it had a new chain and rear sprocket. I inquired about it and the dealer told me it was a recall.

Burke and Wills BMW F 800 GS motorcycle outback MaschineHowever, there had been no public safety recall notice issued through the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission nor posted on their website.

Most companies do the right thing and issue a public safety recall and back it up with a letter to the owners.

However, if the bike has changed hands in a private sale, the manufacturer no longer has a record of the current owner to alert about a safety issue or fault.

That’s why Motorbike Writer publishes all road motorcycle safety recalls.

Obviously we can’t reach everyone, so more should be done for manufacturers to be made aware of current owners.

Surely in these days of networked computers, the change of ownership details could be sent to the manufacturer at least for vehicles up to a certain age.


Recall notices are issued by the manufacturer through a voluntary industry code under the ACCC.

Despite hundreds of recalls by various automotive manufacturers, none has ever been mandatory.  All have been issued by the manufacturer.

While any recall is not good news for the manufacturer, it shows that they are largely diligent in fixing problems.

If you believe there is an endemic problem with your bike that should be recalled, contact the ACCC on 1300 302 502.

To check whether your motorcycle has been recalled, click on these sites:

• Australia


• UK

• New Zealand

• Canada

  1. This is why motorcycles have a kill switch next to the twist grip. You should sit on your bike (with the engine off) and practice flicking the kill switch off. In an emergency you will have to react instantly and won’t have time to think about it.

    Mark, we really appreciate it that you inform us about recalls and other problems. As the above article shows, missing a recall can have devastating consequences.

    1. If you pull the clutch in when the throttle is stuck on you have to hold it in and the engine will scream flat out. By the time you have reacted you could already be in a dangerous situation. You could have lost control of the bike or be about to hit something, or run off the road into the kerb, a drainage ditch, some bushes etc. Any of these could cause you to fall over and/or make your hand slip off the handlebar and you will ‘dump’ the clutch at maximum revs. This could have disastrous consequences. If you flick the kill switch off it will stay off and the engine will stop. The kill switch is a simple and effective safety device. But because many riders almost never use it there is a tendency to forget that it exists – especially in a panic situation.

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