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Old 11-17-2007, 10:34 AM   #1
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group rides - legal question

This is a serious question for those cops and lawyers among us.

First off, let me start off by saying it is a sad comment on our society that I even bring this topic up. But nevertheless, I am curious.

Here is the "for instance"....

Say someone sets up a group ride, makes the point numerous times to "ride your own pace". Everyone is told to wear their gear and does.

Now one guy goes down and decides to sue the leader.

I am not saying this has happened, but could it? I mean...


I would even go so far as say that to cover yer that we have to start posting a legal disclaimer on our event posts... make everyone raise their hands when we meet up and say "yes, I read and agree that no one is liable and I am responsible for my own actions". At the very least, having it in writing and witnesses to back you up would slow down any lawsuits.

Having lead and seen accidents caused by over-indulgence, I know I felt bad and somewhat responsible that those persons went down trying to keep up with faster riders. Even tho they all admitted immediately that their ego took over and they were stupid, you still feel like maybe you could do something different?

Seems to me even if a suit was brought, it would probably end up being dismissed, but you would still be out the time and expense to defend yourself.

It all comes down to personal responsibility and maturity. Lately it seems like these traits are not as prevelant as they could be.

We all know the story about thinking with the "little head", and also how peer pressure and ego and "the red mist" can override common sense at the worse times.

Further on this topic, there are now "Official MH Rides"; I believe that came about to basically say any other ride is not "MH Approved", to limit the web sites liability?

Thoughts anyone?
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Last edited by texlurch; 11-17-2007 at 10:39 AM.
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Old 11-17-2007, 10:41 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JETG View Post
I have heard of someone suing for setting up a ride. The way on a group ride, is to tell the rules and make everyone raise there hand in front of everyone else. Then you have witness to show that you told them and they agree that they are there own responsibility. I am no lawyer, but I have heard that this has happened.

J
That's what I am thinking, and have it in writing in the first post for the ride.

Sucks that a public ride has to be done like that, but may be best thing for everyone.

Do you know the outcome of the suit or is it still ongoing?
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Old 11-17-2007, 10:44 AM   #3
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but what do you do about the people that heard about the ride from a friend and did not read the disclaimer or the people that join up after the ride has already started? do you just turn them away?
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Old 11-17-2007, 10:48 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rob78 View Post
but what do you do about the people that heard about the ride from a friend and did not read the disclaimer or the people that join up after the ride has already started? do you just turn them away?
Myself, I don't like to let other people drop in along the way, especially someone I don't know. If I am rolling down the road and a couple bikes join up, I will stop at the first opportunity and let them go on.

It's bad enough on a public ride you don't know everyones skill and riding style, but a least they heard about the ride rules and got the "talk" at the beginning.

If they hadn't read it, you still get their agreement at the start.
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Old 11-17-2007, 10:53 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JETG View Post
Unfortunatly this day in age, you have to cover yourself. Especially with a group ride that is public. Sucks but it should be done, and is a smart thing to cover the people on the ride and the leader.


I use to group ride a lot to Fayetteville, most of the time it was okay. But when I see someone go wide in a turn into oncomming traffic, it is asking to get killed. Then we stop this person, and I hear someone else say ya I do that ever so often and go wide. Do people or our younger generation think there superman or what, cause you got lucky to go wide and a car was not there. Imaging what happens if a car was there. Been there done that, I was the idiot a long time ago and went wide following a busa and fixated on him. So he was wide and I did the same, ended up off road as to miss a car, I got lucky and held the bike up and went into a ditch catching 3 times air and approx 3' each time. I choose at that time to adjust my head and figure out ride my own ride and at my own skill. I could have been killed, at least I can man up and take my own stupidity and learn from it. Most kids let there ego get them and they get into trouble. There are no trophys and if you wreck more than likely you get hurt bad or killed. I guarantee no one wants to see there friend killed, I have been there and I still hurt on a daily basis and deal with that all the time. So whoever reads this, please ride your own ride and be safe, and realize we all have different levels of skill.

J
Sad to say I heard and saw the same thing on recent rides. Following too close, running wide regularly. Then talking about it like it was "oh, well".

Not to stray too far OT, but one thing that needs to be pointed out on group rides.. don't try to stay in staggered formation in the twisties!! String out single file, open up the gaps to 2 sec at least. I see it time after time someone trying to stay on their side of the lane and run off the edge, when they had the entire lane to themselves.

Like I said in another thread; I am going back to private rides for a while, and being more choosy who I ride with. It sucks that you miss out on meeting new people to hang out with, but it is what it is.

I've been riding off and on for 30+ years. I have had 6 friends die, seen one in person. In every case it was preventable. But I still love it and won't change because of other people.
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Old 11-17-2007, 11:00 AM   #6
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Old 11-17-2007, 11:04 AM   #7
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Old 11-17-2007, 11:07 AM   #8
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just tell them to get f*cked.
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Old 11-17-2007, 11:09 AM   #9
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Being new to this site but not new to riding...25 yrs off and on, I want to meet some "responsible" SW riders in Sugar Land/Missouri City area, but I'm leary to go on a large group ride due to exactly what you are talking about with some of the riders following too close, doing stupid things, etc.

I want to have fun, but be safe and enjoy the ride.
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Old 11-17-2007, 11:12 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rob78 View Post
but what do you do about the people that heard about the ride from a friend and did not read the disclaimer...
You could print a copy and bring it along.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rob78 View Post
...or the people that join up after the ride has already started? do you just turn them away?
Nope, just pull over as soon as possible, jab an ice-pick into there front tire, and ride away.

BTW, I'm suing Jim for the cost of John's radiator, since Jim's the one that setup the hill country ride. And I'll be going after Jimmy for a new paint job, for all rock chips I got on those Sunday Morning Rides.
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Old 11-17-2007, 11:14 AM   #11
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If you are not the cause of the accident, how are you liable for it? If I could be sued for asking you to come out to ride, I could be sued for asking you to have lunch and you choke on the food. That's ridiculous.
If you takes me to court, I will gladly return the favors (countersuit) and I will win for lose time at work and income from your stupid .
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Old 11-17-2007, 11:15 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JETG View Post
It is sad and they keep getting lead down that road...if you have no skill but common either you will learn it or die trying to learn it. It is just a matter of time, and who is to say that your not the one that gets hit from behind from someone going in too hot and not making the turn.
I actually enjoy helping others to learn and get better. Not to mention it adds to the group that I can ride with...

But you have to know your own limits. All comes back to personal responsibility.
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Old 11-17-2007, 11:18 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pigpen View Post

BTW, I'm suing Jim for the cost of John's radiator, since Jim's the one that setup the hill country ride. And I'll be going after Jimmy for a new paint job, for all rock chips I got on those Sunday Morning Rides.

Talk to my lawyer, Sweetpea. I hear you are on good terms with her....
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Old 11-17-2007, 11:18 AM   #14
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Quote:
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Talk to my lawyer, Sweetpea. I hear you are on good terms with her....
haha!
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Old 11-17-2007, 11:25 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JETG View Post
It sucks to go out to the garage and see the bike just sitting waiting on a track day. But my choice is to ride track, I can push myself and if something is to happen I have medical attention just sec away. I dont have to deal with worrying what is in the road or conditions of the track as I know the conditions when I get out there. I know that I can still get hurt, but that goes with riding a motorcycle anyways, but I am trying to lessen the likely hood of me being killed doing something I like to do. I have a faimly that loves and cares about me, and I have friends that are the same way and I dont want to hurt anyone of them by me having fun on a bike. Just not worth it in my opinion.

J
POST OF THE MONTH..........
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Old 11-17-2007, 11:51 AM   #16
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Quote:
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i ride on the street and at the track cuz i love riding and do it at 70% of my skills to have fun cuz to me when you have to guess if you are going to make the next turn then is not fun anymore
That right there is the hardest part for people to learn. When you are getting that "oh, " feeling every turn, you are waaay past 70%.

If you are always coming out of the turns riding on either yellow line, you are outside your skillset.

If you are dragging pegs and running wide, or just running wide on the street, you have no room for error or debris avoidance.

But back to the original question, I guess it will be a good idea to put the disclaimer on any public ride, and make sure you know who is riding with you. :/:
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Old 11-17-2007, 02:17 PM   #17
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Quote:
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same here, and even that you do your part on telling people to take it easy some just dont do, and maybe they think you just dont want them to catch up to you, but we as older guys that ride know when we can push a little or when is time to chill
so your not gonna hold public rides anymore?
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Old 11-17-2007, 02:30 PM   #18
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Back in my Harley days I went on an organized ride with about 2100 bikes in it. We had police escorts blocking exits on 610, the whole deal.
There were moments when it was terrifying. We'd be going 65mph on the freeway and then suddenly you'd be on the brakes so hard you were'nt sure you could keep it upright. Then back on the gas hard to catch up. The whole line accordianed back and forth like that.
The bigger the group the worse it gets.
My vote is ride with people you know or else do more track days. Thats the best way to improve your skills and Bucks LMS days at MSRH are the best.
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Old 11-17-2007, 03:15 PM   #19
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At the MH ride we did a littlw while back I made it very clear at begining speech that MH or myself were not liable. Or in any way responsible.
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Old 11-17-2007, 10:01 PM   #20
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Texlurch,
In todays lawsuit happy world it's definitely something to take into consideration.

I'd also be careful when saying;"I'm happy to help teach someone to increase their skill level."

When you actually POST that, you're leaving the door wide open for liability.

Sooner or later, someone, whether it be the rider that went down because he got in too hot following you, or their family is going to be sizing you up for a lawsuit.



As far as people saying they ride at say 70%, answer this; does that mean you can actually ride 30% faster?

In other words, if you took that last corner at 100 mph, can you take it at 130 mph?


If so, than yes, you're riding at 70%.
If not, well, then you're just kidding yourself.

For someone like Jimmy that's been riding for awhile, that may hold true.
However for someone else that's following and that doesn't possess the same skill level, it's a recipe for disaster.


As a ride leader you can stress "ride within your skill set." till you're blue in the face, but in the end it doesn't always work.


As I've said in the past, I use to do large group rides, but after too many weeks in a row of someone going down, I rethought what I was doing and changed it up.


Nowadays I ride in small groups, mostly with people I know with similar skill levels, and although we frequently do welcome new people, we limit the amount of novices that ride with us at any given time.


In my experience, this approach reduces the tendency for people to get carried away, and it allows the "more experienced" of us in the group to possibly impart some road skills to them.

IMO, it's really difficult to "help someone improve their skills." when you're 10 seconds out of sight in front of them.

Most of the time when I see / hear about people doing this, it's more about stroking their own ego than it's really about helping new riders.

People like this usually understate how fast they're actually going, thereby making the rookie feel even slower, and indirectly giving them incentive to ride over their head.

Kind of OT, but just an observation.


In the end, I'm a big believer in people taking personal responsibility for their actions.

Unfortunately, nowadays that quality is becoming increasingly uncommon, which is one of the reasons insurance, whether it be personal or business liability, is so expensive, and exposure for lawsuits is at an all time high.

My 2 cents.
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