A California man is suing BMW and third-party seat maker Corbin-Pacific, claiming that he suffered a 20- month erection as result of the combined products. Henry Wolf of California claims his issue began after a four-hour ride on his 1993 BMW motorcycle with a ridge like seat. He is seeking compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, and emotional distress.
Though I’m certainly not a urologist, I have heard of priapism. The condition is no laughing matter as it can results in the loss of the organ. WebMD lists several causes of the condition including trauma to the spinal cord or genital area. One supposes that is the basis of his claim, that the seat and motorcycle combination somehow caused the underlying trauma. Though there is apparently no other recorded case of this happening, it still would not give Mr. Wolf a winnable claim against the two companies named in his suit, if proven true. They would have to be proven negligent. As this condition seems to have never occurred before in recorded history, it’s hard to see how BMW and/or Corbin could be held negligent for not preventing it. Additionally, one might suppose that if an extensive amount of trauma was occurring over a four-hour period, Mr. Wolf might have decided to dismount the bike.
Many riders are familiar with the effects of long rides with uncomfortable or ill-fitting seats. Usually the problems make themselves known a little further back in the buttocks or lower back. But that much vibration in the crotch can have an effect. I have experienced, and heard other riders speak of, mild stimulation caused by the inevitable vibration of straddling a motorcycle. But the long-term result is usually numbness. I’m just not sure Mr. Wolf’s claim will stand up in court. As far as litigation goes, it won’t last very long if it goes to a jury of motorcycle riders. I’ve seen links to this posted on three different boards, and the reaction has been universally negative. I’ve yet to come across a rider who buys Mr. Wolf’s claim. Most of us don’t believe him, and would like to think our fellow riders are made of better ethical stuff. From what I’ve read, he’s going to have a hard time getting other bikers on his side. A lot of us have ridden a lot of miles, and nobody else has had this problem.
If it is somehow proven that BMW and/or Corbin are responsible for Mr Wolf’s condition, then I suggest dumping any stock you may have in the company that makes Viagra. And you can bet that BMW motorcycle you planned to buy with the Corbin seat will be on back-order for several years.
－ Guy Wheatley