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2 ways the Peloton Tread+ is different from other treadmills and potentially more dangerous, according to US regulators

Peloton Tread+.
Peloton’s $4,295 Tread+.

  • US regulators issued an urgent safety warning about the Peloton Tread+ on Saturday.
  • The warning advised customers with children and pets to stop using the machine.
  • Regulators are examining potential safety risks with the design of the machine’s base and running belt.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Peloton has come under intense security this week after US regulators warned customers to stop using its $4,295 treadmill, deeming it unsafe after it was reported that a child had died and others were injured while it was in use.

Peloton’s CEO denied that its Tread+ running machine has any safety issues and said the company would not recall the product. A spokesperson reiterated this in an email to Insider on Monday.

“A recall has never been warranted,” the spokesperson said. “The Peloton Tread+ is safe when operated as directed and in accordance with the warnings and safety instructions.”

But according the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, the independent federal agency that issued the warning about the treadmill, some of the machine’s design features make it “particularly dangerous” to use, Consumer Reports reported. Specifically, the agency highlighted potential problems with the height of machine’s base off the ground and well as the design of the running belt.

A spokesperson for CPSC told Insider that the agency is examining how the Tread+ differs from other treadmills on the market.

“We have had injuries reported concerning other treadmills but to date, we are unaware of this hazard pattern involving other treadmills. For example, many injuries involve sudden acceleration of the treadmill, which is not the issue here,” the spokesperson said.

Thousands of accidents involving treadmills happen every year in the US. In 2019, there were 22,500 emergency-room visits related to treadmills, according to CPSC data reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Why is the Tread+ different from any other treadmill?

The CPSC shared a video alongside its statement over the weekend to demonstrate its safety concerns.

The footage showed two children playing, apparently unsupervised, on a Peloton Tread+. One of the children, who was playing with a ball at the rear of the machine, was sucked underneath while the treadmill’s belt was moving. The child was eventually able to wriggle free.

Regulators have highlighted the space between the ground and the machine’s base as potentially posing a safety risk. The following photograph shows the size of the gap between the base of the machine and the floor, which is apparently enough space for a child to be pulled underneath, according to the footage released by the CPSC.

Tread+
The CPSC is investigating the height of the machine.

Regulators are also examining the design of the running belt. While most running machines on the market have a flat and continuous running belt, the Tread+ belt is made up of 59 slats that are “mounted on a ball bearing rail system,” according to Peloton.

The design is meant to make the running experience easier on the knees and legs as the slats are more shock-absorbent, according to Peloton.

Peloton Tread+
Peloton’s running belt is made up of 59 slats, which looks like caterpillar tracks on a tank.

Peloton customers have been debating the safety of the Tread+ in private Facebook members’ groups online over the past few days. Some users suggested that the lack of a “safety bar” at the rear of the machine could be the issue.

Richard Moon, director of fitness consultancy agency Motive8, which designs and installs gyms and fitness centers, and an expert in the sector, told Insider that “safety bars” are not standard on all machines. Motive8 does not currently work with Peloton.

Moon said that he felt the best way to prevent accidents from happening would be to have a safety feature in the software that forces the machine to cut out if it feels a resistance to the point that it stops the belt from running. This could, therefore, help to prevent objects from being dragged underneath.

Peloton said it does not currently have plans to make changes to its Tread+ and stressed that it relies on safe use by its customers.

William Wallace, safety policy manager for Consumer Reports, said he was “shocked” by Peloton’s reaction to the CPSC’s warning. “I think it is in the company’s best interest in the long term to change its approach right away. Right now the company is saying there is no safety issue and essentially, it all boils down to improper use of the machine.

“In the current situation, consumers are left in the lurch; Peloton needs to demonstrate that it is going to put safety first,” he said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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