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NY man charges that Trek's Bontrager WaveCel helmet safety claims are misleading

Published January 8, 2021
Updates with Trek statement.

NEW YORK (BRAIN) — Trek Bicycle is being sued for $5 million by a New York man who says the company is making misleading claims that its Bontrager WaveCel helmets are safer than other brands.

Andrew Glancey of Staatsburg, New York, is the lead plaintiff in a class-action suit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The suit charges that the WaveCel helmet technology was "touted by the defendant as the most significant advancement in cycling in the last 30 years when it was released in early 2019."

While standard foam helmets protect the head against direct impacts, the suit says Trek markets WaveCel as "revolutionary" technology is effective at preventing concussions caused by cycling accidents. It says Trek's claim that WaveCel is "up to" 48 times more effective in providing head injury protection than its competitors is "false, deceptive and misleading."

A Trek WaveCel dealer promotion.The authors of Trek's helmet study claiming WaveCel technology is safer have a financial interest, according to the suit, which claims those helmets are only marginally better than less-expensive helmets. It also claims the study did not use the Trek-made Bontrager WaveCel helmet; instead, it used a Scott ARX helmet modified to include the WaveCel component.

"Trek believes in and stands behind our Bontrager WaveCel helmets," a Trek spokesman told BRAIN on Friday afternoon. "This lawsuit is without merit, and we will vigorously defend against it. The plaintiff has not made an allegation of physical injury. Trek will continue to responsibly promote and improve this innovation in helmet technology."

The company sold more WaveCel helmets at higher prices than it would have in the absence of the misrepresentations, resulting in additional profits at the expense of consumers, according to the suit. Trek has 10 Bontrager WaveCel models for kids and adults ranging in price from $89.99-$299.99.

Glancey is being represented by Sheehan & Associates of Great Neck, New York, which bills itself as a top consumer class-action specialist in areas including false or misleading advertising.

In 2019, a Knoxville, Tennessee, law firm announced an investigation into a potential class-action lawsuit against companies that sell bike helmets lacking new anti-concussion technology like WaveCel and MIPS. Greg Coleman Law is advertising on TopClassActions.com, trying to find people who have suffered head injuries while using helmets lacking the new technologies. The potential lawsuit was first reported by the Bicycle Helmet Safety Insitute, and a spokesman there told BRAIN on Thursday there has been no update.

Bontrager Specter WaveCel helmet.

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