Childcare org. sues Stint manufacturer for damages suffered after ban
A childcare organization is suing the manufacturer of Stint electric cargo bikes. The childcare organization holds Stint Urban Mobility liable for the damages it suffered after the cargo bike was banned from public roads when a Stint was involved in a fatal accident in Oss last year, AD reports.
According to the newspaper, the childcare organization spent 70 thousand euros on replacement transport for the kids in its care. Another 30 thousand euros was spent on adjustments to the Stint cargo bikes it owns to make them safe. The childcare organization wants Stint Urban Mobility to compensate it for these extra and unexpected expenses.
Law firm Van der Goen Advocaten thinks that the Stint manufacturer can expect more damage claims, lawyer Joel van der Goen said to broadcaster NOS. His law firm already received reports from 10 childcare organizations. "The first liability claim has left the building."
Edwin Renzen, the director of Stint Urban Mobility, disagrees with the childcare organization's claim, he said to NOS. He sent a letter to the childcare organization, he said. "It says your factual summary is not quite right, come by and then we will discuss it. We have not received any response." Renzen wants to wait for the Public Prosecution Service's investigation into the accident to be completed before any damage claims are handled.
But according to lawyer Van der Groen, the criminal investigation and damage claims are not dependent on each other. "As a company, you can assume that a product is safe. That was not the case here and that is sufficient in civil law to recover damages."
On September 20th last year, a train collided with a Stint cargo bike at a railway crossing on Braakstraat in Oss. A employee of a local daycare center was taking five children to school on the cargo bike. Four children, aged 4, 4, 6 and 8, were killed. An 11-year-old girl and the 32-year-old childminder driving them were seriously injured.
The exact cause of the accident is still unclear, but preliminary investigations revealed some safety issues with the electric cargo bikes. The preliminary results of a Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate investigation into the electric cargo bikes revealed that technical issues may cause the Stint to stop suddenly, or be unable to brake. The Inspectorate also found that the manufacturer made changes to the vehicle without the Ministry being aware of it. This was enough reason for the Minister to ban the vehicles from the road.
In December, Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen of Infrastructure said that the Stints will only be allowed back on the roads after adjustments were made to make them safe for passenger transport. Adjustments were made in the months that followed - the Stints were equipped with seat belts and a roll cage, and the control console was renewed. If the RDW gives its approval, the Stints will likely be allowed back on the roads in the coming month, according to NOS.
The Public Prosecutor is still investigating the cause of the tragic accident, but already concluded that the childminder who was driving the kids to school that day is not to blame.