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Running A Nonsanctioned Race: Tips? Advice?

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Running A Nonsanctioned Race: Tips? Advice?

Old 04-01-08, 11:13 AM
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ratebeer
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Running A Nonsanctioned Race: Tips? Advice?

For the last year, some friends and I have been holding regular non-sanctioned individual time trials. Just a few people show up and we get a clock on them and post results to our web site.

The course is safe but has a couple turns where the riders blow through two four-way semi-rural stop signs. The speeds, road shoulder sizes and road conditions are such that this has never resulted in a case where a rider has gone outside the shoulder and into the traffic lane and no one has ever had a safety concern. Our only crash was a rider passing out in a new, extremely low position. The stop signs are not a safety concern.

We have a couple concerns though.

1) our liability - we don't want to get sued

2) legal issues - can we get nailed for anything legally?

The cops are very friendly (several riders, racers) and have said on the down low, that asking for a permit is a quick way to get shut down.

What do we do?
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Old 04-01-08, 11:24 AM
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Old 04-01-08, 11:25 AM
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Ok, this is not legal advice, consult a lawyer in your jurisdiction for that.

Couple of things you can do though: 1) get all the participants to sign a well drafted release.

2) buy an umbrella policy with a couple of million in coverage. If you have assets, you want this anyway.

3) keep your name off of anything related to organizing it,

4) alternatively, give in to sanctioning and get coverage for it through USA Cycling as a training series.
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Old 04-01-08, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
Ok, this is not legal advice, consult a lawyer in your jurisdiction for that.

Couple of things you can do though: 1) get all the participants to sign a well drafted release.

2) buy an umbrella policy with a couple of million in coverage. If you have assets, you want this anyway.

3) keep your name off of anything related to organizing it,

4) alternatively, give in to sanctioning and get coverage for it through USA Cycling as a training series.

if you havent done so previously, you just gave your profession away. only a lawyer would disclaim legal advice prior to offering it.
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Old 04-01-08, 11:41 AM
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Are email notices, the web site and flyers in bike shops a bad idea?
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Old 04-01-08, 11:44 AM
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I would be very concered if you do not at least get a permit. States (mine for example) have laws on needing to permit bicycle races, formal or informal, and whether sanctioned by USAC or not. Your not procurring the license is a statutory violation of the law meant to provide protection to the public and participants. If anyone gets hurt, passerby or participant or whatnot, you will most likely be criminally and civilly liable in some respect regardless of their signing a waiver in this circumstance since your facts don't indicate whether you are even pursuing the proper legal channels with your state/local authorities.

This is just one issue given your wanting to keep this "on the down low."
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Old 04-01-08, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by ratebeer View Post
1) our liability - we don't want to get sued
You can be sued no matter what. But if you really want to pursue protection, don't organize this yourselves. Do it through a corporation or LLC or some other organization that has limited liability for members/owners.
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Old 04-01-08, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by bdcheung View Post
That's what i was thinking too.
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Old 04-01-08, 12:16 PM
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I put on a few time-trials last spring when I was living in Athens, Ohio. I didn't buy insurance, write-up a waiver, or anything like that – instead, I just invited only people I knew, either friends or friends of those friends. Sure, something could've happened, but I took that chance. That's how unsanctioned racing goes – sometimes you just do it and cross your fingers.
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Old 04-02-08, 12:46 PM
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The insurance granted recreational cycling clubs through the League of American Bicyclists is very cheap and will cover ITT races without cash prizes (don't have the exact wording handy but that's close).

Our local bike club (non-racing) holds an ITT series under this umbrella in the fall. There is a release form and a membership form they fill out and as long as they are a member ($5 dues for the year) they are covered and your ***** is too.

There's probably a local club near you who would let you hold it under their insurance.

Its all fun and games until someone gets sued for $244 million. . .
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Old 04-02-08, 01:23 PM
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You could do a sanctioned ride under USAC rules. "Group Ride", "Clinic" (yours could be "How to TT"), some other options. $2/rider, you get covered. As far as I know you don't need to get permission from anyone to do a group ride, and if a rider blows a stop sign and you specifically tell them it's not permissible, then it's not your fault if they get T-boned by a dump truck.

Don't cross your fingers. It's a great way to get burned. You think your bike is expensive? Say someone gets nailed by a truck. Their beautiful TT bike is trashed, the wheels now little bits of really expensive carbon fiber strewn over a couple hundred yards of pavement. Who's going to pay for it?

Think, realistically, how you would pay, say $25,000 to someone. Seriously. That's what someone got when a car hit them, broke a leg. Insurance covered the medical expenses. The $25k was "just because".

Okay, you thought about $25k. Not a problem, you bring in $10k/month, take home $7k, and you could spare $4k/month - half a year and it'd be done. Don't slap that $25k down for the new GT-R - wait 6 more months.

Now you get sued for $100,000. Figure that out.

Now calculate $250,000. After you spend $500k of insurance money, you might be out (that was the case with someone I know). So who pays for the rest of the medical costs? You! You win! That's a decent mortgage - $1500/month for THIRTY YEARS.

Now calculate $1,000,000. That's cheap for a broken neck that the kid with no insurance got when he got T-boned by the dump truck. At 6% that's just $6,000/month for 30 years. How much change would that leave you?

I built up the numbers because it's hard to wrap your head around $1,000,000. That's a budget number, some abstract thing thrown around by cycling teams, CEOs, etc. But that's a sh*tload of money, and it's a reality if someone gets hurt.

I'm not saying I haven't seen such TT's being held. Nor am I saying that I've never been in such a TT. But there's no way I'd have anything official (handouts, announcements, emails, etc) if I were to have such a thing, not without insurance.

btw USAC has a $5000 deductible (!) for medical expenses.

I'd try and get your TT done as a clinic, have waivers signed, and try and have something at the stop signs (person, sign, cone, anything to show you tried). Personally I think TTs are a great way for people to get into the sport, the guerilla TTs are great, but the people who hold them are so exposed legally it's not funny.

hope this helps,
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Old 04-02-08, 11:05 PM
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Originally Posted by ratebeer View Post
The stop signs are not a safety concern.
Huh?

At the very least have a spotter if you don't want to slow down for the intersections.

If its all guys you know and trust, you could get away with just agreeing amongst yourselves that if something goes down, whoever was involved handles it on their own. I know this is a foreign concept today, but hopefully friends wont screw each other over. Ride with strangers at your own risk.

This is the M.O. at alleycats and I have never heard of an organizer being held liable-yet I have heard of several injuries and run ins with the law by racers. In short, outsiders will only know its organized if you tell them.

Being only half-ass organized may invite more problems then it prevents because it gives you an identity for officials/civilians to track down.
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Old 04-03-08, 04:37 AM
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Pay the nominal USAC fees and prevent the coronary you'll have worrying about liability.
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Old 04-03-08, 05:38 AM
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Originally Posted by roadgator View Post
Huh?
I was trying to figure that out, too, I think they take right turns at the stops.
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Old 04-03-08, 05:39 AM
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P.S. - I didn't think about the 'group rides' from the USAC above, but that sounds like a decent avenue to pursue.
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Old 04-03-08, 06:27 AM
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I ran a few "clinics" aka "Shartkozawa Classic". Not this year as I moved away. 2007 may have been the last year of it.

This was my clinic:
"Today I'm going to show you 'How to ride rough roads'. After I do that, we'll do a short ride so you can practice these skills. This is NOT a race, understand?"

"First, if you're on a rough road and it's not straight uphill, put it in the big ring. This keeps high tension on the chain, helping prevent it from bouncing off. Why do you think the pros use big small rings in Paris Roubaix? It's partly to help prevent their chains from bouncing off."

"Second, if you're on a rough road, loosely grip the bars and let the bike bounce under you. Steer in the general vicinity of where you want to go. This is no longer precision steering - it's kind of like guiding a boat."

"Third, if you can, go faster. When you go faster over little or consistent bumps, the bumps go from being big shocks to a steady rumble. Hitting a bit pothole at 15 mph is terrible. Hitting at 75 mph on the highway, unless it's a hole in the deck of the Tappan Zee Bridge, is not."

"Fourth, make sure everything on the bike is tight. Loose bottles, bags, tools, things in your pocket, a lot of things will go flying when you ride rough roads if they are not secured."

"Everyone have a map? The course is marked with paint on snow and sand but some concerned citizens may erase them before you get there. Everyone have a tube and a pump and know how to change a flat? This is not a supported ride."

"I have everyone's waiver? You won't have to pay, we pay your fees. You just have to sign the waiver."

"There are no prizes for finishing this non-race first. However I will treat everyone to Starbucks afterwards."

"Okay, let's go."

They were fun clinics.

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