Wilson, emeritus professor of mechanical engineering at MIT, is the author of 'Bicycle Science', the definitive textbook on, er, bicycling science. This tome was first published in 1974.
In yesterday's keynote at 'Thinking on Two Wheels', January 14-16th, in the Hilton Adelaide hotel, Professor Wilson said those involved in bicycle crashes caused by mechanical failure should sue manufacturers to force them into making safer products.
His keynote was entitled 'War stories – battles for safety with bicycle manufacturers.'
Professor Wilson told an audience of academics and cycle advocates that, in his experience, manufacturers did not listen to concerns about the safety of cycle design.
He said: "I would like to you to putting pressure on manufacturers and government people to do something effective about the present situation. You can either regulate this area, or you can litigate."
He cited a personal case where a brake straddle cable on his wife's bike was not up to the job. He complained to the bicycle supplier, and copied his concerns to Usenet: "I was savagely condemned as a woolly-minded academic by some bike mechanics who felt that the failures were my fault," he said.