This was sent out in our local cycleing bulletin board:
There has been some discussion recently about liability during club rides, especially for new riders joining the ride without being MCA members (and therefore insured to some minimum level, at least).
Attached is an succinct account of the major accident and lawsuit that resulted from a weekly ride in Pennsylvania. Evidently the insurers for the LBS had to pay the claim since some of the riders were wearing their logo shirts. I believe the action started off by naming each rider personally on the ride as a defendant.
Note the facts of shouting an approach warning and then the victim moving into the line of travel.
Note the difference between US and Canadian health insurance - at least the lack of health insurance is not a motivator for action in this country (although pain and suffering, lost wages and property damage would be) .
Date: Sun, 24 Nov 2002 19:39:39 -0500
To: Tandem list <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: A story about liability and personal responsibility
Here goes a story. It was in _Bicycling_ a few years back, and was a front
page story in _The Philadelphia Inquirer_. I know some of the participants.
The ride is called "the Drives" and is a 25+ year old Philadelphia
institution. It is sponsored by no one. Racers and fast recreational riders
gather behind the Philadelphia Museum of Art at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays to do
three fast laps of West River Drive and Kelly Drive. Speeds approach 35 mph
on the final lap. Any one who can hang is welcome. Open roads, used by other
Alice Sherlock is riding her bike. She is wearing a helmet, riding as far to
the right as is practicable, and is by all accounts operating her bike in a
safe and legal manner. Every year she takes a cycling vacation, and she is
getting in shape for one.
Along comes a large-ish group, 30 - 40 riders, "On Your Left!" She is
spooked, or maybe moves slightly left as she looks over her left shoulder,
or something. Crash, bang, ouch. She is seriously hurt, broken eye socket,
bad. Two brothers who happen to own a bike shop - remember, the ride has no
"sponsor" or "owner" - offer to help, get her in an ambulance, take her
bike back to their shop (their undoing, BTW) and generally do the right
Her insurance runs out. Remember, she is seriously hurt. Folks are looking
around for someone with deeper pockets. An attorney pays a visit to the
shop. Attorney: "Your riders hurt my client." Shop: "Not our, riders, not
our ride." Attorney: "No, she saw riders wearing your team jersey. Must
therefore be your ride. Tell us their names or be sued."
No names were named, but the insurer of the shop did ultimately pay.
Moral? I dunno, sometimes things are not black and white but a dirty shade
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