Wednesday, December 31

Share the Wisdom Wednesdays (on a WEDNESDAY WTF): Part Nine

So asking for ideas wasn't such a bad idea.

Anonymous said
"Share your infinite wisdom about the recent lawsuit posted on mtbr."  (article here)

While I feel my wisdom is quite finite, I do have two cents on this one.

Yes, I feel it's douchey to sue anyone if you're injured on a mountain bike (unless a bike/component fails due to a manufacturing/design defect causing injury/death).  That said, insurance companies will often times push for this type of action, knowing that the promoter's insurance might bear some of the burden.  I don't know if that's the case here or not... doesn't seem like it.

Most mountain bike race waivers start with something like this:

"I acknowledge that this athletic event is an extreme test of a person’s physical and mental limits and carries with it the potential for death, serious injury and property loss."

Something like this gets tossed in:

" I hereby assume all of the risks of participating and/or volunteering in this event."

So I just don't get that there's any gray area here.  The timeliness of her lawsuit seems to suggest a certain pursuit of monies, so the whole "evil insurance company" idea can get tossed out the window.

I think the scary thing here is that the Oregon Supreme Court declared a ski resort’s blanket liability waiver "unconscionable.”  Let's face it, I sincerely doubt that these folks are in touch with such "extreme sports," like snow boarding or mountain biking and the dangers inherent with participating in such activities.

I know I'm judging (sarcasm sic) them ... I guess the guy sitting at the corner of the table might get "radical" from time to time.  He might even have a neck tattoo under that starched collar.

So these out-of-touch-with-extreme-sports authority figures get to throw out waivers when they see that a promoter hasn't lined the course with pillows and made the woods safer than a Disney Park

Sucks for everybody.  Best case scenario?

Insurance companies don't want to lose the business, so they raise premiums on the promoters and perhaps change some legalese wordings to keep them from coming out of pocket for any negligence (as they see it) on the part of the promoter.

Promoters agree to the terms, pay higher premiums, assume more liability as waivers become useful as nothing but toilet paper, and charge higher entry fees... or just fold up shop entirely to save themselves from losing their homes and anything else worth more than $5.

Racers pay higher entry fees and/or have fewer opportunities to race.

Or none of that happens.

Frivolous lawsuits have not kept us safe from hot coffee, limited our ability to purchase a Winnebago with cruise control that doesn't control the steering wheel, or kept us from our God-given right as an American to play tennis.  Maybe there is the potential for this litigious house of cards to tumble, but for now, we can only hope.  I guess you could send an email to the members of the Oregon Supreme Court and explain to them the nature of our sport, but I imagine the response wouldn't be any different if you just sent them an email letting them know that they're being huge dickbags.


Lisa Belair didn't understand what " death, serious injury and property loss" or "I hereby assume all of the risks" means.

The Oregon Supreme Court didn't understand that "extreme sports" are inherently dangerous or that signing your name on a waiver should mean that THE PERSON WHO SIGNED THE WAIVER ACTUALLY READ THE WAIVER AND AGREED TO THOSE TERMS.

The promoter didn't understand that someone would be douchey enough to sue them... you know, since they SIGNED A WAIVER THAT RELEASED THEM FROM THIS VERY LIABILITY.

I guess the best thing we can do, as mountain bikers who want to continue to race...

If you know someone who is the type to blame others for their problems in life and they're interested in mountain biking, buy them a tennis racket and a can of balls...

and go ahead and send the "dickbag" email.  It can't hurt, and it will make you feel better.


BigRedClydesdale said...

The problem with waivers is they cannot supersede existing law. If you lie about existing conditions, your waiver isn't worth the paper its printed on.

As I understand the facts in this case:
- The injured party claims the race organizers lied when they claimed to have had the trails cleared.
- The race organizers pointed out she wasn't actually running the race at that point, she was just going over the course as a practice run.

Does she deserve a quarter of a million? Definitely not. But in my understanding, you try to shoot the moon with your amount as it will get cut down.

Will this affect race organizers in the future? Probably. But I hope it doesn't shut down venues. I'm hoping it makes the insurance companies involved make very clear to race organizers that if they lie they're on the hook. That way costs don't go up, races continue and everyone is open and honest.

Then again, the cynical part of me says that insurance companies use any excuse to jack up rates.

Disclaimer: I'm from Canada where we aren't very sue happy. We're a lot of "please" and "thank you." Its also incredibly difficult to sue for medical bills since we have free health care.

dicky said...

But it sounds like her definition of "clear" doesn't match the promoters. Putting a jump over a log IN A SUPER D RACE doesn't sound like it wasn't "clear" to me. If she was on a practice run, that's her chance to check out the course at a slower pace.

Now, if she had done her practice run when the course was open for inspection, a storm came, trees knocked down, course worked on and declared "clear"...

and they built that jump in before a race run?

and then she gets injured based on the "all's clear" during her race run on a jump that wasn't there before?

I would get that.

Anonymous said...

I just found that Dickbag Whore's facebook page! I'm gonna tell her what a Dickbag Whore she is! I'm feeling really good about making this happen!

Anonymous said...

$10. says she wins and that sucks she got hurt.
BUT - Note to self: Have a f'n clue before you go MTB. If you are pre-riding the course then that's even more your responsibility, so go easy on the tough sections and make a mental note to brake hard and dismount and walk the obstacle rather than doing something you are not comfortable doing. OMG. The defendant should counter-sue the brake company or her parents or something. Maybe her brakes didn't work or she had no clue. I'm sueing the race organizer because when I read this I was scared shitless and ripped my colon.


BigRedClydesdale said...

Lol @ "scared shitless and ripped my colon". Best comment of 2014!

Doug Mayer said...

@Anon 10:48 AM: I really hope you're kidding (and if you are, it's not funny). There's no need to turn this into a sexist, dehumanizing shit show with stalking & personal threats. In other words, don't let your rageface make us all out be the dickbag.

dicky said...


Anonymous said...

When I've hosted events, the land manager's attorney told me that the waivers were nothing but a deterrent- that they discourage people from suing but in fact in no way release the land manager or event promoter from liability. This is in North Carolina.

Mike B.