Although motorcycle riding is exciting to a lot of men, they probably wouldn’t want to take it as far as one California man did. Henry Wolf claimed in court last week that a four-hour ride on a BMW motorcycle caused him to have an erection for the last 20 months. He is suing BMW of North America over the issue.
Serious medical condition
Wolf’s lawsuit — filed Thursday by his lawyer, Vernon Bradley, in a San Francisco Superior Court — begs bad jokes at the plaintiff’s expense. But priapism — defined as a prolonged and painful erection — is a real medical condition that can be very serious. Wolf claims the “ridge like” banana-style seat made by the Corbin-Pacific seat company, also named in the suit, caused the condition that persists nearly two years later.
The Corbin-Pacific banana seat is a popular model, used by many motorcycle makers including Harley-Davidson, Kawasaki, Honda, Ducati, Triumph, Moto Guzzi and Victory.
Condition began in 2010
The contentious ride happened in September of 2010. According to the lawsuit, Wolf rode his 1993 BMW motorcycle to and from his destination, two hours each way, for a total of approximately four hours in the seat. It was after that ride when Wolf says he began to experience the “discomfort.” The condition, according to the lawsuit, still continues.
Not the first claim of its kind
It seems that such a claim may not be entirely ungrounded. Although cases are exceedingly rare, motorcycles seats have been implicated in some kinds of trauma to the sex organs. For instance, claims have been made that the banana-style motorcycle seat may sometimes cause infertility. Some say that the shape of the seat, coupled with its vibrations, can cause damage to the genital region over prolonged periods. Still, no scientific link has yet been established between motorcycle riding and infertility. According to Torque News, however, a Mayo clinic study did find reason to link infertility with bicycle riding in some instances.
Emotional and mental anguish
The priapism apparently makes it too painful for Wolf to have sexual activity. According to the lawsuit, that condition “is causing him substantial emotional and mental anguish. Plaintiff is distraught and distressed because of this.” As a result, Wolf’s suit seeks compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, product liability, emotional distress and “general damages.”
The suit further contends that each defendant is liable to Wolf because of the seat’s “negligent design, manufacture and/or installation of the seat on plaintiff’s motorcycle.”
Possible legal precedent
It will be interesting to see where the court lands on the matter. If Wolf wins his case, setting a legal precedent, it could mean some stiff consequences for BMW and other bike makers as the would-be plaintiffs start lining up.
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