Gary Lanoue (Left.) from Rehoboth, MA died on Monday when, it appears, his carbon front fork failed.
He was found in the road by a police officer on his way to work.
Gary was wearing a helmet but suffered a severe head injury; apparently no other vehicle was involved.
Gary was riding his Cervelo Soloist bike, one that was subject to a recall in August 2008 because the True Temper Wolf SL fork had been known to fail. I can only assume that Gary did not know of this defect, because who would ride a bike with a suspect front fork when a company is offering to replace it for free?
But then again, I had not heard of this recall either until now, which is why I am writing this to get the information out to a few more people. No one had been killed previously from these fork failures, and it is sad that someone had to die in order for this problem to surface again and a few more cyclists (Including me.) are made aware of it.
Cervelo is a reputable company, the problem didn’t show up in the normal required testing; only later did these forks start to fail, and when this happened the company immediately made the recall announcement.
Unfortunately this was after some 5,800 of these bikes with the Wolf SL fork, were sold. That is a scary thought, how many more people are riding these bikes, oblivious to the fact that their steering tube could break at any time.
I don’t know what other brands of bikes used the True Temper Wolf SL fork, but if you have a bike that pre-dates 2008 it might be prudent to check.
When the major Auto Companies issue a recall it makes National TV, newspapers, and other media outlets; everyone hears about it. A bike recall on the other hand, is announced on a company’s website and maybe makes it to a few bicycle trade magazines.
All Cervelo dealers would have been aware of the recall, and most bike shops would have heard of it initially, but this recall had been out there four years; not all bike store employees would not know about it. Then only if a customer brings his bike into a store to be worked on are they aware of it; many bike riders do their own maintenance.
One final point, on the subject of helmets: The first thing that will hit the road if you go over the handlebars is your forehead. Your helmet should be no more than the width of two fingers above your eyebrows (1 ½ inches or 4cm.) I wear mine one finger above my eyebrows, (3/4 inch, or 2cm.)
Gary Lanoue leaves behind a wife and three adult children; my condolences go out to them and the rest of Gary’s friends and family.
Remember there are thousands of these bikes out there, many will still have the original defective front fork. Please help spread the word in any way you can; don't let anyone else die because of this. My thanks to Ted Delaney for bringing this story to my attention
Update 5/22/12: The front fork was apparently not the recalled model. See this article.