JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville man said he had a brush with death when he was riding his 2010 Can-Am Syder RTS and the brakes went out then the three-wheeled motorcycle caught fire and exploded.
William Morales said it happened while he was riding on Interstate 95 in North Carolina during a trip from Jacksonville to North Carolina to see his family.
“I was making great time; had cruise control set at 75 mph,” Morales said.
But his trip was cut short.
“I smelled something funny and looked down, and I had a brake failure light,” Morales said. “Next thing I know, I am looking down and there is a fire at my feet; smoke coming up.”
Morales said he tried to pull over, but his brake lights didn’t work, so he had to roll off into the grass going about 50 mph.
At that point, he just had to jump off the modified motorcycle, he said.
“The bike blew up when I got about 40 feet away,” Morales said. “(The explosion) was massive. It wasn’t just one, it was several.”
The modified motorcycle, with two wheels in the front and one in the back, is marketed as more stable, and more than 100,000 of them have been sold. But Morales' Spyder was ruined.
Morales said he’s still feeling pain in his shoulder, hip and wrist from the accident.
His attorney, Brent Latour, with the Law Office of John M. Phillips, said he’s looking to see if the manufacturer should have done something to prevent it.
“We’ve done a good bit of research on this, and this is been a known problem by Can-Am. They have had some recalls, and it clearly hasn’t fixed the problem,” Latour said. “When a company is on notice of a problem, such as this, there is an air of negligence and it requires our investigation.”
Morales said he’s thankful to be alive and just wants people to know what could happen next time they take a ride.
News4JAx reached out to Can-Am, the company that makes the vehicle, and a spokesperson sent the following statement Thursday afternoon:
"BRP is not aware of the incident in question. The customer should contact his dealer or BRP's customer service department at (888) 272-9222 so that a proper investigation can be conducted.
"Owners can access recall information on the Can-Am Spyder website, and they can enter their VIN directly to determine if a recall was issued on their vehicle."
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has investigated fires on Spyders before. News4Jax has not yet heard if it’ll launch an investigation due to Morales’ claims.