club rides and USAcycling liability
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  1. #1

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    club rides and USAcycling liability

    Our local cycling club is a USCF club. We host the usual events, a couple of races a year and multiple weekly training rides. Usually, we post our training ride times on a telephone "hotline" and whoever shows up has been welcome to ride. Now we find out that in order to be covered by the liability insurance we have to: a) pay a 50$ noncompetitive permit fee for every 30 of these rides, b) take attendence at each ride and c) pay $1.00 for each rider within 22 days after the ride. Of course, everyone needs to sign a waiver. Does this seem ridiculous to anybody else. I'd be interested to hear how other clubs function in this regard. We have a hard enough time getting new members without this kind of hassle. I've been to other cities where there a multiple rides put on by bike shops or clubs and have never seen attendence taken.

  2. #2

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    I just print up a map with the following disclaimer on the bottom:

    There is no charge for this map and no services are promised. We are going to bicycle a designated route. If you choose, you are welcome to ride along at your own risk.

  3. #3
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    Is this a requirement to be covered by USCF coverage? How did you even learn of these requirements?
    I don't see a whole lot of reason to have your informal rides covered. My club certainly doesn't do all that. I think that all you would give up is coverage for the informal rides (I would keep it for races and actual events).
    Use a disclaimer something like this:
    Cycling is a dangerous sport, involving risk of severe bodily injury or even death, from road hazards, traffic hazards, weather hazards, personal health risks, risks from other riders, including negligence of riders, etc., and you understand that ____ Club is a volunteer club, exercises no authority over its riders or guests and neither controls nor attempts to control any of these hazards, and therefore accepts NO RESPONSIBILITY for any of these hazards or any personal injury, property damage, or other loss to you. By riding with us, you understand and assume all risk of personal injury, property damage, or other loss from this activity.

    These types of waivers are ineffective as contracts but serve to notify people that they are at risk. That's what gets people sued -- the failure to make clear what the "sponsoring group" does and what it doesn't do.

  4. #4

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    USCF requirement

    Quote Originally Posted by bill
    Is this a requirement to be covered by USCF coverage? How did you even learn of these requirements?
    I don't see a whole lot of reason to have your informal rides covered. My club certainly doesn't do all that. I think that all you would give up is coverage for the informal rides (I would keep it for races and actual events).
    Use a disclaimer something like this:
    Cycling is a dangerous sport, involving risk of severe bodily injury or even death, from road hazards, traffic hazards, weather hazards, personal health risks, risks from other riders, including negligence of riders, etc., and you understand that ____ Club is a volunteer club, exercises no authority over its riders or guests and neither controls nor attempts to control any of these hazards, and therefore accepts NO RESPONSIBILITY for any of these hazards or any personal injury, property damage, or other loss to you. By riding with us, you understand and assume all risk of personal injury, property damage, or other loss from this activity.

    These types of waivers are ineffective as contracts but serve to notify people that they are at risk. That's what gets people sued -- the failure to make clear what the "sponsoring group" does and what it doesn't do.
    This was a email reply from USA cycling in response to a query from our club on if we were covered for informal rides (like riding to Baskin Robbins with the kids). We would have to do all those things to be covered. My feeling is that if someone wants to sue us they will, and no amount preparation will prevent it.

  5. #5
    $4000 bike - two bit legs
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    My club

    The only stipulation my club makes is that as ride leader, I am under no circumstances allowed to help someone repair their bike. I can't help change a flat - nothing. I can offer tools, but cannot physically touch their bike. I guess the idea is that I am not a mechanic and as the rep of the club, if I fixed a bike, I would be taking responsibility for the repair. Stupid- but understandable. We don't require sign-ins, don't even require a rider to be a club member. The irony is: last Sunday, I was ride leader for a century. Guess who got the only flat of the day??? Yup, me.

    I guess it comes down to the fact that anyone can sue for any reason. If I don't touch someone's bike, don't purposely lead them into harms' way, what liability did I take??? Before each ride, we clearly post (in the bulletin and online and email) the expected average speed, terrain (flat vs. rolling vs hilly) difficulty level of the ride (level 1 to 10), etc.... For Example: if you can't average 17mph for a hilly century, don't come. I have made it quite clear to riders what the limits of the particular ride are to be. I suppose someone could have a heart attack due to the strenuous exercise, then I suppose I could be sued - but not successfully.
    Paul in Northern Kentucky

    Across the mighty Ohio from Cincinnati:
    The Obesity Capital of the USA
    (Explains a lot of the intolerance about us riders, huh?)

  6. #6
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Well, look, anyone can sue anyone for anything, but the trick is to be SUCCESSFUL. And it's a harder trick than most people think. A much harder trick, in fact.
    If your club affirmatively, explicitly, and loudly conveys the message to your participants, guests, whoever is along for the ride, that your club is not doing anything in particular for them other than providing an opportunity to ride alongside others who happened to turn out for the ride, then, if something happens, someone can sue, I suppose, but it's very unlikely to be successful. The less likelihood of success, the less likely is any lawyer to take the case. There may be places where such drek can succeed, but I don't know where they are.

  7. #7
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    There's a moral to this

    Never ask a lawyer for permission to do anything. Their job is to prevent you from doing anything. They will not tell you what you can do, only what you can't do, and even if their recommendations are rediculously preposterous, they will look you straight in the eye and tell you it's for your protection. The club made the mistake of asking for permission on something that was meaningless in the first place. Risk waivers are only to make people feel better and to act as a slight barrier to suit. They have no real legal standing - you can't waive your rights, especially in the case of negligence or willful failure.

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