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Group rides and insurance liability

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Group rides and insurance liability

Old 01-08-16, 01:36 PM
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Barrettscv 
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Group rides and insurance liability

I've been asked to lead a 20 mile group ride once a week for a local bike shop. I'm not affiliated with the shop in any professional capacity, just a customer.

Will I risk legal recourse in the event a participant becomes injured while riding in this group?

Can I avoid direct liability through insurance of some kind?
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Old 01-08-16, 01:56 PM
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I think you need to make it clear that rides are voluntary and riders assume all risks of riding. You could ask the shop if they need riders to sign a waiver.
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Old 01-08-16, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
I've been asked to lead a 20 mile group ride once a week for a local bike shop. I'm not affiliated with the shop in any professional capacity, just a customer.

Will I risk legal recourse in the event a participant becomes injured while riding in this group?

Can I avoid direct liability through insurance of some kind?
Strictly speaking: no. Anyone can sue anyone else for anything they want. "I don't like the color of your hair. I'm suing..."

Insurance doesn't help you avoid liability. It helps you pay if you've been found liable/responsible.

Unfortunately/fortunately, cycling has not been susceptible to frivolous lawsuits over the years, so there's not much of a judicial track record to go on.

I'd talk with the shop owner, see if you can't become an employee for just the rides. Even say $1 per ride. Should be more, though. After all, the ride is a marketing thing for him/her. They're trying to encourage cycling and make money off it.
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Old 01-08-16, 03:22 PM
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Yes, I agree with the above reply. There is no way to completely protect yourself from being sued. When I worked with a development team, I had a ton of coverage. I would ask to see what the shop can do for you. I wouldn't run a ride without some kind of protection.
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Old 01-08-16, 03:29 PM
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Is this a regular event with the shop?

I've been on rides where people just show up.

Also, one had a sign-up/waiver sheet. That would help limit liability and get a list of participants, should one choose to track rides, or create a member mailing list.

Anyway, if you have a concern, talk to the shop about developing a waiver/sign-up sheet if they don't already have one.

Be thoughtful in your ride. Stop at stop signs and traffic lights. Signal. Call out road hazards. If it is a "no drop" ride, make sure you keep track of the stragglers (designated sweeper?). You should be fine if you take care and are safe.

Wrecks happen, and then there is the question of who was the cause of the wreck. If you take a ride through a red light and someone gets smashed, then it may be your fault. If a group of riders decides to race down a hill, it would be up to them to stay safe (unless you're leading the 50mph sprint around hairpin turns).
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Old 01-08-16, 03:39 PM
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If the shop has a USA Cycling club then if the ride is associated as a club activity then it is covered under the club insurance. Otherwise you need to look for a separate insurance rider and have people sign a release if this concerns you.
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Old 01-08-16, 04:13 PM
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Releases can help if you do get sued, but they don't keep you from being sued. You want some kind of insurance that pays for the expenses of lawyers and other related xosts. I teach school for a living. Through the education association, I have huge coverage.
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Old 01-09-16, 04:51 PM
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As pointed out, biggest problem is legal fees if you do get sued.

Your homeowners insurance will likely cover you and provide a defense to such claims. (Read the policy and talk to your agent).

If you have substantial assets to protect add an umbrella policy.
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Old 01-09-16, 08:54 PM
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Agree with other comments, anyone can sue anybody for anything regardless of signed waivers, etc. Once you're named, you've lost unless insurance is available to pay defense costs. A business sponsoring such rides should have insurance for this and the policy may cover you. If it were me I'd want a written confirmation from the insurance agent or company that I was covered and/or be added as a named insured for the event. I would not rely on the shop to indemnify you without having insurance, I don't think most shops generate the sort of money that a lawyer will burn through.
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