Peloton Bike "Instantly" Killed Rider After Falling on Him

The mother of New York man Ryan Furtado has sued Peloton, alleging that her son died after one of the company's exercise bikes fell on him.

By Corinne Heller Sep 08, 2023 4:52 PMTags
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Peloton is facing legal action alleging that an incident with one of its bikes left a man dead.

More than one year after her son Ryan Furtado, 32, was killed while using a Peloton spin bike for an exercise in Jan. 2022, Johanna Furtado filed a lawsuit against the exercise equipment company, which has denied any wrongdoing. In court documents filed March 2023, Johanna stated that her son, who had purchased the bike six months earlier, was killed while completing a virtually-instructed "Core" workout provided through the equipment.

"The workout requires riders to disembark the bike to conduct exercises on the floor," the documents state. "Ryan disembarked the bike and conducted the floor exercises. When rising from those exercises, Ryan used the bike to assist him in getting up. The bike spun around and impacted him on his neck and face severing his carotid artery in his neck killing him instantly."

The New York Police Department found Ryan with the "bike still resting on his neck and face," according to the lawsuit.

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Johanna further alleges in her filing that Peloton sold the bike to her son "in a defective and unreasonably dangerous condition" and "knew or in the exercise of reasonable care should have known of the risk of personal injury associated with from continuously stretching on the bike during workouts, causing the Subject Bike to destabilize and fall, causing injury to the user."

She is suing for compensatory damages, medical expenses and other economic damages and demands a jury trial.

In a response filed in June and obtained by the Daily Beast, Peloton Interactive, Inc. maintains that Ryan's "alleged injuries or damages, if any, were caused or contributed to by [his] own negligence, intentional act and/or fault" and not by the company, which is not legally responsible.

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A Peloton spokesperson also E! News in a statement Sept. 8, "We offer our deepest sympathy and condolences to the Furtado family for this unfortunate accident. As a Member-first company, the health and safety of our Member community is a top priority."

The Furtado family's lawyers, Mike Morgan and Gennady Voldz, said in a statement to the Daily Beast that Peloton "has a duty to communicate clearly and honestly with customers about the dangers inherent in their products."

"The sympathy and condolences Peloton has offered to our client in public statements ring hollow while their lawyers deny any responsibility and blame Mr. Furtado for his own tragic and avoidable death," they said. "We will do everything in our power to hold Peloton accountable for their actions and inactions that allegedly led to the death of a kind and funny 32-year-old who should still be with us today."

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Johanna's lawsuit, brought to light by the Daily Beast Sept. 6, involves the first-known death involving a Peloton bike, which rose in popularity after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 as people increasingly worked out at home.

However, the company's treadmills been previously involved in tragic incidents. In 2021, a 6-year-old child died after getting pulled into a Peloton treadmill, while a 3-year-old suffered a "significant brain injury" from an accident that left him "trapped under a Peloton Tread+," according to an incident report made to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

Peloton later recalled the product and this past January, the CPSC announced that the exercise equipment firm had agreed to pay a $19 million civil penalty that "resolves CPSC's charges that Peloton knowingly failed to immediately report to CPSC, as required by law, that its Tread+ treadmill contained a defect that could create a substantial product hazard and created an unreasonable risk of serious injury to consumers."

"By the time Peloton filed a report with the Commission there were more than 150 reports of people, pets, and/or objects being pulled under the rear of the Tread+ treadmill," the CPSC said, "including the death of a child and 13 injuries, including broken bones, lacerations, abrasions and friction burns."

Peloton later said in a statement to NBC News and other outlets that it was pleased to have reached a settlement and that "it continues to pursue the CPSC's approval of a Tread+ rear guard that would further augment its safety features." The company added it "remains deeply committed to the safety and well-being of our members and to the continuous improvement of our products."

(E! and NBC News are part of the NBCUniversal family.)

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