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Alleycat Legal

Old 10-03-07, 05:41 PM
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deathhare
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Alleycat Legal

As i was looking at the flyer for the MASH NYC race thats coming up, i wondered something. Mash seems to be a legit sorta company. They have a logo, products, website and a mass following of buyers and fans. Nothing wrong with that. Go on em and im glad it seems to be going well for em.

To the point. If Mash or someone like them puts on a huge alleycat like this, do they always have a legal waiver? I mean if they didnt and someone got killed or worse, they could be sued right?
So then my mind wandered to the fact that the alleycat itself is illegal. So how valid is that form that you sign when its related to participation in an illegal activity?
And then, well if they dont have a form, fine. But how liable are they in the case of organizing an illegal event like the race.
I mean alleycats ARE techincally illegal right? Or not?
I guess i never thought of this stuff before and maybe i just dont understand something.

Who knows whats up?

Last edited by deathhare; 10-03-07 at 08:23 PM.
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Old 10-03-07, 05:43 PM
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after signing a waiver if someone breaks the law that is their own fault

a good corp would never endorse illegality

i mean to say that an alleycat could conceivably be run legally

so long as the corpsponsor doesnt force people to drink above the legal limit or the like
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Old 10-03-07, 05:44 PM
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generally waivers don't mean **** in court
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Old 10-03-07, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by doofo View Post
i mean to say that an alleycat could conceivably be run legally
How? Its a race on public streets often involving hundreds of people. That in itself is legal isnt it? I really dont know the answer to that question.
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Old 10-03-07, 05:48 PM
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who says they have to run stop signs

maybe youd need a parade permit for the start though
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Old 10-03-07, 05:49 PM
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i don't think alleycats are illegal. they are more a-legal or extra-legal.... depending on your local laws re parades and assemblies. Some of the stuff that goes down at alleycats is definitely illegal or skirts the line, say where there's drinking or breaking of traffic laws by riders or vandalism or what not, but alot of that can be avoided by responsible organizing and a strong community spirit that encourages racing for the sake of competition...
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Old 10-03-07, 05:50 PM
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By freedom of assembly i would think an alleycat is legal.

Breaking laws while racing in one, while common place, is optional and completely the prerogative of the individual racer. I dont see how just organizing one could be considered illegal.

Its always been the unspoken rule that if you get hurt or run in with the law, you are on your own, and its your own damn fault. How lame would it be to attempt to hold your organizer liable for your own stupidity?
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Old 10-03-07, 05:51 PM
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imo, it all depends on what is written on the waiver... i agree w/ the previous post, most waivers don't mean ish in court...
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Old 10-03-07, 05:52 PM
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It varies from city to city. Alleycats are illegal in Boston. We still have them, but technically we're supposed to get a permit from the city. Unfortunately, the super-illegal Tour de Franzia would never be approved, so it's all under the radar.
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Old 10-03-07, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by deathhare View Post
I mean if they didnt and someone got killed or worse, they could be sued right?
What could possibly happen that's worse than someone getting killed?!
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Old 10-03-07, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Jonny Pockets View Post
What could possibly happen that's worse than someone getting killed?!
I was thinking along the lines of a paralyzed person. I think thats worse for some people. Thats personal opinion i guess.
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Old 10-03-07, 05:58 PM
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I would imagine NYC had ordinances involving permits for anything that involves blocking traffic. I'll do a little research and get back to ya...
 
Old 10-03-07, 05:59 PM
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plus paralyzed people can sue for lost earning ability

i dont think dead people can do that
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Old 10-03-07, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Jonny Pockets View Post
What could possibly happen that's worse than someone getting killed?!
running a red light.

lol
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Old 10-03-07, 06:00 PM
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What if i organized a car street race that specifically stated that the organizers did not condone breaking any laws during the race. Would that be legal? I could call them alleycats too. Not races. But of course, the first one at the finish point wins.

Last edited by deathhare; 10-03-07 at 06:17 PM.
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Old 10-03-07, 06:02 PM
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^^^ thats how its done already, no?

every man for himself.
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Old 10-03-07, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by deathhare View Post
What if i organized a car street race that specifically stated that the oganizers did not condone breaking any laws. Would that be legal? I could call them alleycats too. Not races. But of course, the first one at the finish point wins.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gumball_3000
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Old 10-03-07, 06:10 PM
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westlaw doesn't have access to city ordinances, and this is far from definitive, but I did find an article via nyu about monstertrack...

"Among bike messengers and urban commuters, it’s now fashionable to ride single-speed fixed gear bikes, which do not let you coast. To stop, pedal backward and skid. At “Monster Track,” there was one more rule – no brakes allowed.

You can see why the police wouldn’t be crazy about that. And they weren’t that day in Manhattan, when they showed up just before the race. Somehow all was smoothed over, and the race was cleared to go – though an hour and a half late.

The leaders of traditional biking organizations are dubious about the races, too. Alleycats might be fun, but they are potentially dangerous, said Joshua Poppel, executive director of the New York Bicycling Coalition, which encourages riding for sport, recreation and transportation.

Once an Alleycat is underway, authorities can’t do much to stop it. Because each participant charts his own course, riders rarely travel in large packs, and so probably won’t be noticed.

“If a cop sees some people going by really fast on bikes, he probably won’t have time to react anyways,” said Amy Bolger, a photographer and ex-bike messenger who has just published New York Alleycats, a book of photography about the races (Tasora Books, February 2007)."

and again...

"Bolger isn’t worried that Alleycat rides will attract the ire of authorities, even though Critical Mass, another unsanctioned ride, has been the target of controlling legislation in some cities.

“Their problem is that they go too slow,” Bolger said of Critical Mass. “They obstruct traffic.”

For Alleycat racers, traffic obstructs them."

Clearly this doesn't address the liability issue...
 
Old 10-03-07, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by freeskihp View Post
generally waivers don't mean **** in court
I would imagine that's highly dependent on what the waiver says... this isn't like a typical waiver for, say, a ski area... where they have some control over their conditions and certainly have control over their lifts, etc... in this case if their waiver requires racers to acknowledge that the race organizers in no way endorse breaking the law, and a rider does break the law and gets injured, there's little question that there's contributory negligence on the part of the individual racer.

Still, it's a valid point that, if someone were to get killed and their dependents were to sue the organizers, it would put quite the damper on alleycat racing.

Anyway, take all of this with a grain of salt, it is coming from someone currently engrossed in torts... I'd imagine there are people on the site that are far better able to reflect on the liability issues.
 
Old 10-03-07, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by tinydr View Post
I would imagine that's highly dependent on what the waiver says... this isn't like a typical waiver for, say, a ski area... where they have some control over their conditions and certainly have control over their lifts, etc... in this case if their waiver requires racers to acknowledge that the race organizers in no way endorse breaking the law, and a rider does break the law and gets injured, there's little question that there's contributory negligence on the part of the individual racer.

Still, it's a valid point that, if someone were to get killed and their dependents were to sue the organizers, it would put quite the damper on alleycat racing.

Anyway, take all of this with a grain of salt, it is coming from someone currently engrossed in torts... I'd imagine there are people on the site that are far better able to reflect on the liability issues.
i love westlaw. my understanding was that whenever a waiver lists the whole "we have no idea what is going to happen," then the waiver usually doesn't hold water because that could mean literally anything and courts don't want to allow this kind of waiver to be used in all circumstances since it would completely take away liability in all cases. waivers seem to be a really tricky thing to do properly, and i am certain that, even if there was a waiver and things went wrong, there would be a large settlement out of court. the validity of the waiver is likely just a bargaining piece. however, assumption of risk might be a more powerful argument for the organizers. (my torts class was a while ago, so be gentle)

p.s. tinydr, second year is lot better than first year.
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Old 10-03-07, 06:45 PM
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Right, but seeing MASH presumably has money and would rather not lose it, I'd think they got themselves some expensive lawyers who wrote up a good and proper waiver to protect their hides. I agree with you on the settlement front though, to some extent the cost of lengthy litigation on its own would force them into it.

Anyway, I can't imagine they'll say anything but I emailed MASH to ask them if they'd be willing to shed some light on the waiver, either to me or by popping in here and letting us know themselves. I'd imagine they can't talk about it but it's worth a try.

ps: All the 2Ls keeps telling me that's a boldfaced lie! Here's to hoping though!!!
 
Old 10-03-07, 06:50 PM
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keep us posted if you get something from them. i would really be interested in what they have to say.
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Old 10-03-07, 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by crissfyah View Post
i don't think alleycats are illegal. they are more a-legal or extra-legal.... depending on your local laws re parades and assemblies. Some of the stuff that goes down at alleycats is definitely illegal or skirts the line, say where there's drinking or breaking of traffic laws by riders or vandalism or what not, but alot of that can be avoided by responsible organizing and a strong community spirit that encourages racing for the sake of competition...
racing a "vehicle" on public roads without a permit is illegal most places. Whether or not a bike counts probably varies like most bike laws from state to state. I would guess alleycats are illegal in a majority of states.

The number of hit and runs I've seen in alleycats probably justifies their illegality anyway.
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Old 10-03-07, 07:09 PM
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I think you have to distinguish first between 1) the legality of alley cat racing on the street
as an activity, and 2) any cause of action and associated remedy someone might seek against
MASH NYC if they got hurt.

The first issue is fraught with constitutional difficulty if you look at racing
as an expressive activity protected by the First Amendment. If a court found racing a non-expressive activity it would probably be illegal under city and county codes.

The second issue, including the waiver discussion is also complex. First of all, waivers are usually an attempt to make the signor aware they are "assuming the risk" of injury that occurs during an activity. Assumption of the risk is a rule surrounded by exceptions. If someone who was hurt wanted to overcome the waiver they probably could. The second issue that I think would stop someone from successfully getting damages out of MASH is the proximate cause issue. Most civil remedies require that the defendant was the "proximate" cause, i.e. that the injury was a direct and foreseeable outcome of the defendant's conduct. Without going into too much detail, MASH putting on the race would be a "cause in fact" among others, but the injury would likely be due to the rider's 1) own inept skills, or 2) a car, or 2) some combination thereof. MASH's sponsorship is too causally remote to actually make a strong case. . .that would be my guess. However, I am not a civil tort lawyer, I do environmental law--so if someone has better info please chime in. That said, someone getting hurt on the street is different than a classic negligence tort--old lady slips in a store. In the store scenario the store 1) controls the premises, 2) spilled something, 3) their control gave them the ability to clean up the spill, which they failed to do, making them a proximate cause of injury. A car on a street where a race is held is not within MASH's control nor did they put the car there. . .

ps: this is not legal advice and you ain't my client

Last edited by Suttree; 10-03-07 at 07:20 PM.
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Old 10-03-07, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by deathhare View Post
They have a logo, products, website and a mass following of buyers and fans.
Any combination or even all of these does not necessarily equal a legit company, corporation, LLC or anything but a group of guys who created a brand.
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