Innovative exercise bike company and the true mark of wealth and success, Peloton, recently expanded into the treadmill market. Big screens, advanced engineering, integrated Peloton subscription, it’s everything you’ve come to expect from their brand, except it keeps on maiming people and killing kids.
That’s right, the Peloton treadmill was built with a fatal design flaw that sucks up objects underneath it, including children, which will either send you flying into your wall or grind your skin into a fine paste. It’s already killed one kid which means it has a taste for blood and it was only a matter of time until it killed again.
It wasn’t just one freak accident, there have been 70+ reported cases of the Peloton Tread attacking people. The Consumer Product Safety Commission and Peloton issued a warning a month ago that these things were murderous lunatics saying in a statement, “CPSC staff believes the Peloton Tread+ poses serious risks to children for abrasions, fractures, and death,” adding, “In light of multiple reports of children becoming entrapped, pinned, and pulled under the rear roller of the product, CPSC urges consumers with children at home to stop using the product immediately.”
Watch the Tread+ try to eat this child.
That kid was one of the lucky ones. These overpriced treadmills have been terrorizing any kids unlucky enough to come in contact with one of them since they were released.
But products have design flaws all of the time, that’s why recalls are a thing. This is huge news but wouldn’t have been as big of a deal if Peloton would have acted immediately instead of playing the victim while their Tread+ continued to inflict pain upon the world.
Why the Fuck Weren’t They Recalled Sooner?
Good question. Peloton hesitated to act because like most large corporations, they value money way more than the lives of innocent children. They fought back aggressively against the initial report and accused the CPSC of “unfairly” characterizing their efforts as an attempt to delay, which it absolutely was.
After the first child died, another one suffered a traumatic brain injury, and a third was found by his father trapped under the machine “not breathing and pulseless,” according to a CPSC incident report. Peloton reported these incidents to the CPSC and then said this, “There is no reason to stop using the Tread+, as long as all warnings and safety instructions are followed,” the company said in a statement. “Children under 16 should never use the Tread+, and Members should keep children, pets, and objects away from the Tread+ at all times.”
The CPSC said the Tread+ should be kept “in a locked room away from objects including exercise balls, and to unplug and store its safety key out of reach of children when not in use.” When your treadmill needs the same precautions as a loaded gun, there’s something wrong.
The CPSC tried to handle things in private but finally had to call out Peloton for not treating the repeated attempted murders seriously. After Peloton shrugged their shoulders at the child death and went “What are ya gonna do?” The CPSC had to issue an administrative subpoena, which they almost never do, that required Peloton to disclose the name of the child who died and the family’s contact information so regulators could continue their inquiry into what went wrong.
To put this in context, I should say that treadmill injuries are a pretty common thing, especially when it comes to children. There were 22,500 treadmill-related injuries at U.S. emergency departments in 2019 and about 2,000 of those were children under 8 years old, according to the CPSC. The agency reported 17 deaths associated with treadmills from 2018 to 2020.
Treadmills are dangerous and kids are stupid, that’s not Peloton’s fault. The problem is the incidents with the Tread+ were happening at a much, much higher rate than any other treadmills. When they became privy to this, they dragged their feet, hemmed and hawed throughout this entire process while these child eating machines were feasting on tiny arms and legs.
It’s a tale as old as Capitalism and reminds me of the recall scene from Fight Club. To a $34 Billion company like Peloton, lives, even the lives of children, are expendable until they affect the bottom line.
Peloton Ignores the Truth in the Name of Profit
Let’s try an exercise, if you built a playground in your yard that was constantly maiming and killing kids who used it, what would you do? Would you claim that “playgrounds hurt people all the time” and then see how things play out? My guess is you’re a decent person and would advise everybody to stop using it immediately.
Not Peloton. Faced with the reality that their Tread+ was really, really dangerous, even in comparison to other treadmills, they lashed out at the CPSC and downplayed the mountain of serious incidents that were being reported.
They released a statement after the CPSC released their initial press release on the dangers of the Tread+, “CPSC has unfairly characterized Peloton’s efforts to collaborate and to correct inaccuracies in CPSC’s press release as an attempt to delay,” the statement said. “Peloton is disappointed that, despite its offers of collaboration, and despite the fact that the Tread+ complies with all applicable safety standards, CPSC was unwilling to engage in any meaningful discussions with Peloton before issuing its inaccurate and misleading press release.”
Peloton fought as hard as they could against these allegations and to keep the Tread+ on the market. They vowed to really drill the point home to their users that the Tread+ was really dangerous if not used properly.
“While Peloton knows that the Tread+ is safe for the home when used in accordance with warnings and safety instructions, the company is committed to taking whatever steps are necessary and appropriate to further inform Members of potential risks and remind them of measures they need to take to safeguard themselves and others in their households,” they said, adding that instructors will tell users how extremely dangerous their treadmills are. “Peloton will also continue to work to develop industry-leading safety features for connected home exercise equipment.”
Cases continued to mount because the problem wasn’t the safety warnings, it was a faulty fucking treadmill that shouldn’t have been sold to people in the first place.
Peloton Finally Pulls the Murder Machine+ Off the Market
The incidents finally became too numerous and too hard for Peloton to ignore. They issued a formal recall of the Tread+ on 5/5/2021. John Foley, Peloton’s CEO, said the recall was “the right thing to do.” Probably while rolling his eyes and making the “jerk off” motion with his hand.
“The decision to recall both products was the right thing to do for Peloton’s Members and their families,” he said in a statement. “I want to be clear, Peloton made a mistake in our initial response to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s request that we recall the Tread+. We should have engaged more productively with them from the outset. For that, I apologize. Today’s announcement reflects our recognition that, by working closely with the CPSC, we can increase safety awareness for our Members. We believe strongly in the future of at-home connected fitness and are committed to work with the CPSC to set new industry safety standards for treadmills. We have a desire and a responsibility to be an industry leader in product safety.”
Added Robert S. Adler, acting chairman of the CPSC: “The agreement, which the Commission voted this morning to accept, requires Peloton to immediately stop selling and distributing both the Tread+ and Tread products in the United States and refund the full purchase price to consumers who wish to return their treadmills. The agreement between CPSC and Peloton is the result of weeks of intense negotiation and effort, culminating in a cooperative agreement that I believe serves the best interests of Peloton and of consumers. I would like to thank the CPSC technical staff who have worked tirelessly to protect consumers and to warn the public. Today we have taken steps to prevent further harm from these two products.”
I wish I had a more nuanced message than “corporations are evil” but it’s that simple. Peloton feasted during the pandemic because it was the best exercise option while we were all trapped inside and is now valued at $34 billion. All they had to do was stay ahead of the problem and admit they messed up before this turned into such a fiasco.
But they put profits ahead of human lives and now they’re going to take a much bigger, much more public flogging than they would have experienced if they had the most basic level of human decency.
They can act transparent and responsible now but they waited until their hand was forced before they decided to do anything. If the CPSC hadn’t been so adamant, Peloton would be still be selling these things and probably release the Tread++ version that has 30% more murder.
Peloton deserves all of the negative press and more for how they handled this. Next time, try making a product that doesn’t kill children. And if you do, stop selling it when you find out.