Oklahoma Mountain Biking Club Sued by Injured Rider- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    JmZ
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    Upset Oklahoma Mountain Biking Club Sued by Injured Rider

    An injured mountain biker is suing the non-profit Oklahoma Earthbike Fellowship (OEF) claiming the biking club failed to properly maintain a trail bridge. The case appears to be a classic example of the type of lawsuit feared by land managers and mountain biking organizations worldwide.

    Linkage: http://www.imba.com/news/news_releas...f_lawsuit.html

    I'm hoping the case does get thrown out of court, it'll make it harder for future cases like this to develop. Otherwise... any attorneys in the house? Or anyone else who knows how to limit liability?

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  2. #2
    Specialized Rida
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    People like that just pisses me off.

    I live in SoCal, but I have been on that trail. I really makes me mad when people know the risks, but choose to ride it anyways, and when they realize thier skills can't handle it and fall then they try to blame it on someone else.

    I guess some people just never grow up or try to make a quick buck. It's either one or the other or both....


    Hopefully everything works out in favor of OEF, and that guy ends up looking like a dumbass in the end.

  3. #3
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    Can we sue him to keep his lame @ss off the trail...better yet the planet? It really sucks that personal responsibility has been eroded away from our society! Lawyers are new terrorist and we will all continue to pay more and more until someone puts a stop to all of these frivolous lawsuits.

  4. #4
    featherweight clydesdale
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    The local IMBA affiliate performs a fair amount trail in my area.

    I'm thinking of drafting (I'm not an attorney) a letter that basically states:

    __ County/National Forest Service acknowledges that __ Mountain Bike Club performs as valuable community service throught its regular maintaince of our trails. __ County/National Forest Service recognizes that __ County/National Forest Service has the final responsibility regarding maintenance and conditions of its trails, bridges, signage, and any item or object a user may encounter while using our trail network. We agree to hold __ Mountain Bike Club harmless and accept full responsibility for any legal issues arrising from the use of our trail system.


    Thoughts? Perhaps IMBA could run something like this past their attorney and get a draft out to the website that is generic enough for any state?

    Plus or minus some legal wording here and there, and it might make a good file stuffer for a rainy day.

  5. #5

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    Yes, what ever happened to personal responsibility? That reminds me of the case back in Australia where someone went swimming at a visibly closed beach, got dumped by a big wave, injured their back and then sued the city council as they should have tried harder to prevent him swimming than just posting signs saying that the beach was closed, thankfully I am pretty sure he lost that case but come on...

    Every time I get on my mountain bike I am taking a risk and if I crash out on the trail then that is just part of biking.

  6. #6
    discombobulated SuperModerator
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    <<<<< The broken board was located near the beginning of the bridge, but Reese fell near the other end of the bridge.>>>>>

    Wow, that must have been one teetering wipe out, to lose it so early and nearly make it across
    Dork

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    So it's perfectly fine to have rock gardens, jumps, and logs...but if a board is missing in a bridge you get sued?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by barnold74
    Can we sue him to keep his lame @ss off the trail...better yet the planet? It really sucks that personal responsibility has been eroded away from our society! Lawyers are new terrorist and we will all continue to pay more and more until someone puts a stop to all of these frivolous lawsuits.
    I can understand your sentiments, but please try not to get down on all lawyers and the civil justice system in general. The civil justice system has worked very well for over 200 years, and I think that it is one of the things we have the most to be proud of in Amerca. Believe me, if the case is meritless, it will be disposed of promptly by the court in which it was filed. This is especiall so in Oklamhoma, which is not exactly a hotbed for plainitff's cases. Unfortunatly, the media likes to report stories of outrageous cases being filed but doesn't follow up when they are thrown out on a summary judgment motion.

  9. #9
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    How much responsibility did the biking club have for maintaining the trail in question? Is it on strictly public land that they just use as a "nice trail" by word of mouth, or do they have a specific agreement with the land manager(s) to maintain the trails and things like bridges? Inquiring minds, and all that...

  10. #10
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    From what I understand it was an "informal" agreement. Lots of talk going on in the state. TV news and lots of radio coverage, thankfully a lot of the sentiments echoed in the previous posts have gotten across. Most people I have talked to agree with the personal responsibility take. Before long we will have to have disclaimers at all of our trailheads........

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by SoDakSooner
    From what I understand it was an "informal" agreement.
    Is it public or private land?

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  13. #13
    JmZ
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    A bit more info

    Quote Originally Posted by mondaycurse
    So it's perfectly fine to have rock gardens, jumps, and logs...but if a board is missing in a bridge you get sued?
    Just visited the local TV station's site. There was a brief blurb. The guy wants to be covered for his medical expenses.

    I personally wonder if he's doing it because the insurance company has bled him dry or told him they won't pay unless he sues.

    His lawyer is on record saying that crashing due to trees and rocks is ok, but he shouldn't expect to crash because of a bridge.

    Comment about Whistler deleted. - JmZ

    JmZ
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  14. #14
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    Several lessons here

    I noticed from reading the article that the injured rider sued both the club and the city in question, but has already dropped the city from his lawsuit.

    I also noted that before this happened, there was no formal maintenance agreement between the city and the club, but now, the city has required the club to sign a formal agreement
    that releases the city from trail management responsibilities
    .

    This suggests to me that the city is either protected by law, or the plaintiff's lawyer sees the club as more vulnerable. It also suggests to me that the city has "washed its hands" of responsiblity for the club's actions. A better formal agreement would bring the club under the protection of the city, as long as work was done to established standards.

    We've got several local groups that do volunteer trailwork. Even when the fix or job at hand is a no brainer, we do nothing that is not in conformance with the relevant agency's established guidelines, nor do we do anything without an OK from the agency.

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