LIABILITY FOR NON-COMMERCIAL TRAILWORK IN BRITISH COLUMBIA (and some parts of Canada)- Mtbr.com
Results 1 to 24 of 24
  1. #1
    North Van/Whistler
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    3,698

    LIABILITY FOR NON-COMMERCIAL TRAILWORK IN BRITISH COLUMBIA (and some parts of Canada)

    This is Canada - centric. Not many of you on here but wanted to throw it out.

    Also wanted to get this stream of consciousness out there since it's pretty much good times for trailwork and trailbuilding.

    Curious about how much liability you as a trailbuilder or trail org have for the trailwork you do in BC? Pretty much zero.
    Read on

    LIABILITY FOR NON-COMMERCIAL TRAILWORK IN BRITISH COLUMBIA (and some parts of Canada) | Sharon and Lee - Just another day

    LIABILITY FOR NON-COMMERCIAL TRAILWORK IN BRITISH COLUMBIA (and some parts of Canada)-woodworkdsc02676.jpg
    Locals' Guide to North Shore Rides http://mtbtrails.ca/

  2. #2
    North Van/Whistler
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    3,698
    and here is the Part about LIABILITY FOR COMMERCIAL TRAILS OPERATIONS IN B.C: = again pretty much Ride at Your Own Risk - or liability ZERO

    LIABILITY FOR COMMERCIAL TRAILS OPERATIONS IN B.C: (or ride at your own risk in B.C. bikeparks) – part 2 | Sharon and Lee - Just another day

    LIABILITY FOR NON-COMMERCIAL TRAILWORK IN BRITISH COLUMBIA (and some parts of Canada)-collage.jpg
    Locals' Guide to North Shore Rides http://mtbtrails.ca/

  3. #3
    saddlemeat
    Reputation: bsieb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    3,857
    Pretty much the same way here, but the liability is in the details, and usually starts with the property owner. We work on County held ROWs when on private property. Any orgs/incs with money have operating liability insurance or their own lawyers. Local govt provides workmans comp insurance for most/all volunteers. But anyone can take anyone to court over liability, staff your BODs with a lawyer mtber or two. We have the County Attorney and a private lawyer, as well as a bank president, land manager or two, and the usual assortment of economic development types, grant writers, and dreamers. Signs mean nothing, btw.
    I ride with the best dogs.




  4. #4
    trail gnome
    Reputation: ray.vermette's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    683
    Quote Originally Posted by bsieb View Post
    ...Signs mean nothing, btw.
    On their own, they may not count for much, but combined with other risk mitigation measures -- such as waivers, insurance, legal advice, trail design, etc. -- they matter.

    Signage is referenced in the court decision linked to from the article linked above, both in the statements of fact and reasons for judgement. It's not the only factor, or the most important one, but it is a factor.
    Mountain bikers are generally a rational bunch...until someone moves a rock on our favorite trail and we lose our minds - LMN

  5. #5
    trail gnome
    Reputation: ray.vermette's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    683
    We aren't quite as fortunate here in Ontario, as Lee pointed out in one of the articles linked to above. Ontario courts have interpreted the law less favourably.

    Our local (incorporated non-profit) advocacy group is insured, as are the owners of the land the trails are built on. Signage is used. Inspection of wooden structures. Whistler standards followed. Annual reports on trail work. Waivers on group rides. Training for group ride leaders. Safety briefings on trail days. Lawyer on the BOD.

    I think we are safe from lawsuit, but you never know until you are tested. I'm just grateful that Canadian society is generally less litigious and we tend not to see these huge payouts like in the US. At least that is the impression I have; not sure how accurate that assessment is.
    Last edited by ray.vermette; 03-28-2018 at 11:03 AM.
    Mountain bikers are generally a rational bunch...until someone moves a rock on our favorite trail and we lose our minds - LMN

  6. #6
    saddlemeat
    Reputation: bsieb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    3,857
    The law of the land in the US is that a private property owner is not liable to recreational users unless they are charging for access.
    I ride with the best dogs.




  7. #7
    trail gnome
    Reputation: ray.vermette's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    683
    Is that a federal law, or do all 50 states have the same law?

    Are those law(s) generally bulletproof, or have landowners been successfully sued over liability claims by recreational users?
    Mountain bikers are generally a rational bunch...until someone moves a rock on our favorite trail and we lose our minds - LMN

  8. #8
    North Van/Whistler
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    3,698
    Quote Originally Posted by bsieb View Post
    Pretty much the same way here, but the liability is in the details, and usually starts with the property owner. We work on County held ROWs when on private property. Any orgs/incs with money have operating liability insurance or their own lawyers. Local govt provides workmans comp insurance for most/all volunteers. But anyone can take anyone to court over liability, staff your BODs with a lawyer mtber or two. We have the County Attorney and a private lawyer, as well as a bank president, land manager or two, and the usual assortment of economic development types, grant writers, and dreamers. Signs mean nothing, btw.
    Where is "here"?
    Locals' Guide to North Shore Rides http://mtbtrails.ca/

  9. #9
    banned
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Posts
    1,121
    Quote Originally Posted by bsieb View Post
    The law of the land in the US is that a private property owner is not liable to recreational users unless they are charging for access.
    God bless merica👍

  10. #10
    saddlemeat
    Reputation: bsieb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    3,857
    Quote Originally Posted by ray.vermette View Post
    Is that a federal law, or do all 50 states have the same law?

    Are those law(s) generally bulletproof, or have landowners been successfully sued over liability claims by recreational users?
    It's a federal law. Not sure if it has been tested much, it hadn't as of some years ago, but it was written to allow private property to be open to rec. use without liability exposure. It doesn't cover intentional acts, but there are no other exceptions AFAIK. I'm not a lawyer...

    Here for me is the Gallup/Zuni Mountains area in NW New Mexico.
    I ride with the best dogs.




  11. #11
    North Van/Whistler
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    3,698
    Quote Originally Posted by bsieb View Post
    Pretty much the same way here, but the liability is in the details, and usually starts with the property owner. We work on County held ROWs when on private property. Any orgs/incs with money have operating liability insurance or their own lawyers. Local govt provides workmans comp insurance for most/all volunteers. But anyone can take anyone to court over liability, staff your BODs with a lawyer mtber or two. We have the County Attorney and a private lawyer, as well as a bank president, land manager or two, and the usual assortment of economic development types, grant writers, and dreamers. Signs mean nothing, btw.
    Quote Originally Posted by bsieb View Post
    It's a federal law. Not sure if it has been tested much, it hadn't as of some years ago, but it was written to allow private property to be open to rec. use without liability exposure. It doesn't cover intentional acts, but there are no other exceptions AFAIK. I'm not a lawyer...

    Here for me is the Gallup/Zuni Mountains area in NW New Mexico.
    Thanks

    Headwaters Economics are pretty good. Megan the author of this paper knows her stuff. My understanding of US law is that tort, contract (waiver); all the various things that go into exposure for trailwork was state law. I didn't know that there was federal law - this paper is consistent with that. https://headwaterseconomics.org/wp-c...l-overview.pdf

    If there is a federal law it'd be good to know more about it.
    Locals' Guide to North Shore Rides http://mtbtrails.ca/

  12. #12
    Single(Pivot)and Happy
    Reputation: Boulder Pilot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    1,779
    All 50 US States have some form of recreational use statute, intended to allow private property owners to allow public recreational access on their property while extending immunity from liability to said property owners. That said, in San Diego County, I believe 9 out of 10 private property owners decline to offer public access for recreational use.

    If someone gets hurt on your property which results in medical bills and/or loss of wages due to missing work as a result of getting injured, the property owner will more than likely get sued. Even if the injured party wants to take 100% responsibility for their actions, which in today's world is not the norm, doing the right thing can be financially impossible when your insurance company demands payment.

    The statutes extend immunity from liability but attorneys will file their lawsuit based on one of the exceptions in the statute. In order to prove you have immunity and that immunity was intact when the injury occurred requires one to hire an attorney and prepare for a summary hearing with the hope of having the case dismissed. So, private property owners that offer their private property to be used by the public, at no cost, instead of being viewed as assets to the community are viewed as paydays by the asshats.
    The suspension of your bike sucks if it's different than mine. Really. It sucks. Big time.

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    747
    I just looked up the Newfoundland and Labrador version of the OLA and it's essentially exactly as you're describing for BC. 90% of our trails are unsanctioned and built on Crown Land and as of yet there is very little conflict. We're easily 10 years behind the rest of the world with respect to advocacy and such. Slowly moving in the right direction, though.

  14. #14
    banned
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Posts
    1,121
    Quote Originally Posted by L. Ron Hoover View Post
    I just looked up the Newfoundland and Labrador version of the OLA and it's essentially exactly as you're describing for BC. 90% of our trails are unsanctioned and built on Crown Land and as of yet there is very little conflict. We're easily 10 years behind the rest of the world with respect to advocacy and such. Slowly moving in the right direction, though.
    Sounds to me like things are just fine and there's no need to move in any other direction. If it ain't broke....

  15. #15
    beer thief
    Reputation: radair's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Posts
    4,901
    Quote Originally Posted by Boulder Pilot View Post
    ...In order to prove you have immunity and that immunity was intact when the injury occurred requires one to hire an attorney and prepare for a summary hearing with the hope of having the case dismissed. So, private property owners that offer their private property to be used by the public, at no cost, instead of being viewed as assets to the community are viewed as paydays by the asshats.
    The rec use statute in NH was changed a few years ago to require the person suing the landowner to pay their legal bills if the case is thrown out. This limits the cases attorneys will take on and provides more protection to landowners.

  16. #16
    trail gnome
    Reputation: ray.vermette's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    683
    One fact that some are overlooking: these recreational use statutes are written to protect the landowner, or agents working on behalf of the landowner.

    If you don't own the land and are building trails without the landowner's permission or knowledge... good luck.
    Mountain bikers are generally a rational bunch...until someone moves a rock on our favorite trail and we lose our minds - LMN

  17. #17
    saddlemeat
    Reputation: bsieb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    3,857
    Quote Originally Posted by bsieb View Post
    It's a federal law. Not sure if it has been tested much, it hadn't as of some years ago, but it was written to allow private property to be open to rec. use without liability exposure. It doesn't cover intentional acts, but there are no other exceptions AFAIK. I'm not a lawyer...

    Here for me is the Gallup/Zuni Mountains area in NW New Mexico.
    NOT a federal law... https://premisesliability.uslegal.co...-use-statutes/

    Like I said, NOT a lawyer, glad we have two good ones on our BOD.
    I ride with the best dogs.




  18. #18
    mtbr member
    Reputation: roughster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Posts
    1,890
    I'll throw this nugget out for people interested in the public side at least for California. It is good to have this handy when engaging public agencies:

    Summary:

    831.7. (a) Neither a public entity nor a public employee is liable to any person who participates in a hazardous recreational activity, including any person who assists the participant, or to any spectator who knew or reasonably should have known that the hazardous recreational activity created a substantial risk of injury to himself or herself and was voluntarily in the place of risk, or having the ability to do so failed to leave, for any damage or injury to property or persons arising out of that hazardous recreational activity.

    (b) As used in this section, “hazardous recreational activity” means a recreational activity conducted on property of a public entity that creates a substantial, as distinguished from a minor, trivial, or insignificant, risk of injury to a participant or a spectator.

    Hazardous recreational activity” also means:
    ...
    (3) Animal riding, including equestrian competition, archery, bicycle racing or jumping, bicycle motocross, mountain bicycling


    Direct Link to the law:
    CA Code 831.7 Law section

  19. #19
    Single(Pivot)and Happy
    Reputation: Boulder Pilot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    1,779
    If you are advocating for trails and/or bike parks in California, pay attention to CCR 831.7(d). Do not let your local government entity force, persuade or require you to accept the liability. M.O.U.'s are not legally binding documents and legal contracts cannot extend immunity. Advocate smart.
    The suspension of your bike sucks if it's different than mine. Really. It sucks. Big time.

  20. #20
    North Van/Whistler
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    3,698
    Quote Originally Posted by ray.vermette View Post
    One fact that some are overlooking: these recreational use statutes are written to protect the landowner, or agents working on behalf of the landowner.

    If you don't own the land and are building trails without the landowner's permission or knowledge... good luck.
    Good thing that Canada's various versions of Occupiers Liability Acts protect any party from getting sued by the injured trailuser ie the landowner, land manager, sanctioned builder pr unsanctioned builder
    Locals' Guide to North Shore Rides http://mtbtrails.ca/

  21. #21
    trail gnome
    Reputation: ray.vermette's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    683
    Quote Originally Posted by LeeL View Post
    Good thing that Canada's various versions of Occupiers Liability Acts protect any party from getting sued by the injured trailuser ie the landowner, land manager, sanctioned builder or unsanctioned builder
    Those acts are about limiting liability to the occupier. How does a trail builder, building without knowledge or permission of a landowner, fall under the acts' legal definition of an occupier? Is there any case law that backs up that interpretation?
    Mountain bikers are generally a rational bunch...until someone moves a rock on our favorite trail and we lose our minds - LMN

  22. #22
    trail gnome
    Reputation: ray.vermette's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    683
    Quote Originally Posted by bsieb View Post
    NOT a federal law... https://premisesliability.uslegal.co...-use-statutes/

    Like I said, NOT a lawyer, glad we have two good ones on our BOD.
    Thanks for the link.

    So there are some exceptions under which the landowner can be found liable, including attractive nuisance. A pool without an enclosing fence is an attractive nuisance. Is a bike jump as well? I would say no, but a judge that doesn't bike might have a different interpretation.

    I don't mean to pour rain on everyone's parade. These laws to limit liability are great, but my point is they aren't bulletproof, and relying on them alone without seeking other means to limit liability is risky.
    Mountain bikers are generally a rational bunch...until someone moves a rock on our favorite trail and we lose our minds - LMN

  23. #23
    North Van/Whistler
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    3,698
    Quote Originally Posted by ray.vermette View Post
    Those acts are about limiting liability to the occupier. How does a trail builder, building without knowledge or permission of a landowner, fall under the acts' legal definition of an occupier? Is there any case law that backs up that interpretation?
    Good point and I did overreach . The sanctioned building org is protected. There's been no unsanctioned builders protected. There's been no test cases.

    All the case law in BC has been for skiing where under the standard non OLA duty of care in sports with inherent risk you have to have some sort of monumental colossal series of almost intentional mistakes to be held liable. BC courts are very much "you're on your own"
    Locals' Guide to North Shore Rides http://mtbtrails.ca/

  24. #24
    saddlemeat
    Reputation: bsieb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    3,857
    Quote Originally Posted by ray.vermette View Post
    Thanks for the link.

    So there are some exceptions under which the landowner can be found liable, including attractive nuisance. A pool without an enclosing fence is an attractive nuisance. Is a bike jump as well? I would say no, but a judge that doesn't bike might have a different interpretation.

    I don't mean to pour rain on everyone's parade. These laws to limit liability are great, but my point is they aren't bulletproof, and relying on them alone without seeking other means to limit liability is risky.
    Which is why it is best if a local government is involved as the legal holder of the lease, ROW, or easement, and assumes the liability of maintaining it. Nothing is bulletproof, although a lone builder with no assets is close. Not a sport for rich guys.

    The exceptions are for things you are already liable for as a property owner, as far as I can see.
    I ride with the best dogs.




Similar Threads

  1. Squamish, British Columbia, Canada. What a place.
    By jakeyo1 in forum Videos and POV Cameras
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 08-18-2016, 07:59 PM
  2. Camping and riding in British Columbia Canada
    By vallka in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 06-21-2013, 11:59 PM
  3. British Columbia cross country riding
    By LeeL in forum Downhill - Freeride
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 06-01-2012, 10:28 AM
  4. Replies: 0
    Last Post: 05-27-2012, 12:24 AM
  5. British Columbia cross country riding
    By LeeL in forum Riding Passion
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 05-03-2012, 12:16 PM

Members who have read this thread: 0

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

THE SITE

ABOUT MTBR

VISIT US AT

© Copyright 2020 VerticalScope Inc. All rights reserved.