DH/FR/HC/Hucking - What keeps mfr's out of court?

Discussion in 'Mountain Bikes' started by B. Sanders, May 6, 2003.

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  1. B. Sanders

    B. Sanders Guest

    What is keeping manufacturers of bikes *specifically designed* for hucking, hardcore, downhill and
    freeride (etc) out of court for medical liabilities?

    C'mon, riders must be getting hurt on these bikes: 110 lb Newbie buys 45lb bike with 9" travel.
    Newbie hucks 15 ft drop to flat. Newbie goes to hospital howling with pain when he lands wrong,
    loses grip and smashes face on handlebars. Maxillofacial surgery, here we come!

    It's one thing for highly skilled riders to execute perfect landings (most of the time). Everybody
    else is crashing a lot. At those velocities and distances, that's gotta add up to some ambulance
    rides. Extreme riding is all about risk and "going for it." That means pain and injury when things
    go wrong, and that has big lawsuit written all over it.

    Why aren't the riders (or their parents, more likely) suing the crap out of the manufacturers? Know
    of any cases? I assume that this isn't a problem, because mfr's keep cranking up the heat, turning
    out more and more extreme bikes, with more ad copy openly advocating big drops, etc. All it takes
    are a few broken backs and that industry is toast.

    Just a thought.

    B
     
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  2. B. Sanders wrote:

    >What is keeping manufacturers of bikes *specifically designed* for hucking, hardcore, downhill and
    >freeride (etc) out of court for medical liabilities?
    >
    >C'mon, riders must be getting hurt on these bikes: 110 lb Newbie buys 45lb bike with 9" travel.
    >Newbie hucks 15 ft drop to flat. Newbie goes to hospital howling with pain when he lands wrong,
    >loses grip and smashes face on handlebars. Maxillofacial surgery, here we come!
    >
    >It's one thing for highly skilled riders to execute perfect landings (most of the time). Everybody
    >else is crashing a lot. At those velocities and distances, that's gotta add up to some ambulance
    >rides. Extreme riding is all about risk and "going for it." That means pain and injury when things
    >go wrong, and that has big lawsuit written all over it.
    >
    >Why aren't the riders (or their parents, more likely) suing the crap out of the manufacturers? Know
    >of any cases? I assume that this isn't a problem, because mfr's keep cranking up the heat, turning
    >out more and more extreme bikes, with more ad copy openly advocating big drops, etc. All it takes
    >are a few broken backs and that industry is toast.
    >
    >Just a thought.
    >
    >B
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    I would guess that it is due to the legalese in every owners manual that starts out with "Montain
    Biking is an inherently dangerous activity..." and goes on from there.

    Besides, if someone hucks off of something that is outside of their skill level, why would that be
    the bike's fault?

    A
     
  3. "B. Sanders" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > What is keeping manufacturers of bikes *specifically designed* for
    hucking,
    > hardcore, downhill and freeride (etc) out of court for medical
    liabilities?

    The reason, I believe, is that riders that buy expensive freeride/jumping bikes know the inherent
    risk and don't hold the manufacturers liable. Any old joe schmoe (who would be apt to sue)
    wouldn't be buying a Turner or an Intense because he wouldn't see the logic behind spending so
    much on a bike.

    > C'mon, riders must be getting hurt on these bikes: 110 lb Newbie buys 45lb bike with 9" travel.
    > Newbie hucks 15 ft drop to flat. Newbie goes to

    People jumping shit also have the cojones to do so. 110lb newbies don't do 15 footers just because
    they feel "empowered" or whatever.

    > It's one thing for highly skilled riders to execute perfect landings (most of the time). Everybody
    > else is crashing a lot. At those velocities and

    Carnegie Hall, etc. etc. Maybe extreme riders aren't dipshits that shuck off responsibility
    to others.

    --
    Phil, Squid-in-Training
     
  4. Shaun Rimmer

    Shaun Rimmer Guest

    B. Sanders <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > All it takes are a few broken backs and that industry is toast.
    >
    > Just a thought.

    There's been plenty. The world isn't far gone enough yet for it to go that way. If and when people
    are no longer responsible for their actions to the degree they can effectively shut down an industry
    through their own foolishness, it's time for the dissolution of society as we know it, or the end of
    our race. Wankers.

    Shaun aRe
     
  5. B. Sanders

    B. Sanders Guest

    "Anthony Sloan" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    >
    >
    > B. Sanders wrote:
    >
    > >What is keeping manufacturers of bikes *specifically designed* for
    hucking,
    > >hardcore, downhill and freeride (etc) out of court for medical
    liabilities?
    > >
    > >C'mon, riders must be getting hurt on these bikes: 110 lb Newbie buys
    45lb
    > >bike with 9" travel. Newbie hucks 15 ft drop to flat. Newbie goes to hospital howling with pain
    > >when he lands wrong, loses grip and smashes
    face
    > >on handlebars. Maxillofacial surgery, here we come!
    > >
    > >It's one thing for highly skilled riders to execute perfect landings
    (most
    > >of the time). Everybody else is crashing a lot. At those velocities and distances, that's gotta
    > >add up to some ambulance rides. Extreme riding is all about risk and "going for it." That means
    > >pain and injury when
    things
    > >go wrong, and that has big lawsuit written all over it.
    > >
    > >Why aren't the riders (or their parents, more likely) suing the crap out
    of
    > >the manufacturers? Know of any cases? I assume that this isn't a
    problem,
    > >because mfr's keep cranking up the heat, turning out more and more
    extreme
    > >bikes, with more ad copy openly advocating big drops, etc. All it takes
    are
    > >a few broken backs and that industry is toast.
    > >
    > >Just a thought.
    > >
    > >B
    > >

    > I would guess that it is due to the legalese in every owners manual that starts out with "Montain
    > Biking is an inherently dangerous activity..." and goes on from there.

    Demo bike. Lost the owner's manual. Oops!

    > Besides, if someone hucks off of something that is outside of their skill level, why would that be
    > the bike's fault?

    Look at the ads. The mfr's are openly advocating "insane drops" etc. They are, in essence, telling
    the consumer: "Anybody can do 15 ft drops with these bikes. We're strongly implying that it's safe
    and even encouraging you to try it." The ads do not say: "You'll smash your face if you land wrong."
    There are no warnings in any of the advertisements that I've seen. Instead, there are photos of
    riders doing truly crazy stunts that would seriously injure unskilled riders. This has liability
    written all over it, IMO.

    -Barry

    (Disclaimer: I'm not an attorney. I'm not giving legal advice, nor presuming to know the laws and
    legal precedents that apply. This is pure conjecture.)
     
  6. B. Sanders

    B. Sanders Guest

    "Shaun Rimmer" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > B. Sanders <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    >
    > > All it takes are a few broken backs and that industry is toast.
    > >
    > > Just a thought.
    >
    > There's been plenty. The world isn't far gone enough yet for it to go that way. If and when people
    > are no longer responsible for their actions to the degree they can effectively shut down an
    > industry through their own foolishness, it's time for the dissolution of society as we know it, or
    the
    > end of our race. Wankers.

    Never underestimate the power of civil court to destroy an industry. It has happened, and is
    happening. If teams of lawyers are currently suing large grocery store chains because they didn't
    tell people they were dyeing the salmon pink, then anything is fair game. That's not the most
    ridiculous suit that I've heard of, either.

    Ever hear of a book called "Unsafe at Any Speed?" This book effectively forced GM to stop selling
    the Corvair because of its positraction differential. (Note: Many cars still have positraction.)

    All it would take is a vocal group of parents making headlines by pushing a wheelchair-bound 10th
    grader on stage to speak out against extreme bike riding, and the party is over.

    The world *is* that far gone, Shaun. That's why it amazes me when I read the ad copy for
    hucking/HC/DH/FR bikes. They're just begging for a lawsuit,
    IMO. When kids are involved, people get active very quickly. Look at "Parental Advisory" labelling
    on CD's, for instance.

    -Barry
     
  7. Chris

    Chris Guest

    "B. Sanders" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > >
    > Look at the ads. The mfr's are openly advocating "insane drops" etc.
    They
    > are, in essence, telling the consumer: "Anybody can do 15 ft drops with these bikes. We're
    > strongly implying that it's safe and even encouraging
    you
    > to try it." The ads do not say: "You'll smash your face if you land
    wrong."
    > There are no warnings in any of the advertisements that I've seen.
    Instead,
    > there are photos of riders doing truly crazy stunts that would seriously injure unskilled riders.
    > This has liability written all over it, IMO.
    >
    > -Barry
    >
    > (Disclaimer: I'm not an attorney. I'm not giving legal advice, nor
    presuming
    > to know the laws and legal precedents that apply. This is pure
    conjecture.)
    >

    You may interpret mtb ads as declaring "everybody can", but what it comes down to is most people -
    specifically those that are inexperienced/less than athletic - know their limitations when it comes
    to Dew Sports. For example, I've done a lot more rock climbing than biking in my day, and if you
    were to flip through a Rock & Ice magazine, you might get the feeling that a pair of FiveTen shoes
    can let you pull a desperate V.14 just like Dave Graham...but the reality is, when you're looking up
    at the cliff face, common human sense - the survival instinct - takes over. I've been set up for
    routes that I probably could have handled, but the voice in my head said "maybe today's not the
    day." If I were to try something over my head, and get hurt, the understanding is that it is my
    fault for going beyond my abilities. The same applies to Dew Biking - I saw Bender drop 50 feet and
    make it look good, but when I'm on top of the drop looking down, I suddenly want to take up
    knitting. If I did throw myself off, no one would rightly make the argument that an Oakley ad
    convinced me of my physical and technical abilities to stick a landing.

    I'm not saying no ne will ever sue Kona, Intense, or whomever, but I also can't fathom a
    judge/magistrate/tribal council/whatever you got in the world following this train of thought:

    1 - Plaintiff saw a picture of a guy 30 feet off the ground on a bike. 2 - Plaintiff found a 30 foot
    cliff and threw himself off on similar bike as was pictured. 3 - Plaintiff goes boom 4 - It's the
    bike's fault

    It is tradition more or less - I don't know of any real legal precedent - that when an athelete
    makes a bad decision and gets hurt the equipment is not to blame. Has Rossignol ever been sued by a
    skier that hit a tree? Probably not, and if said skier did go through the legal motions, you can be
    sure it was thrown out. Without specific declarations to a biker (i.e., an LBS guy telling you "you,
    Mr. Sanders, can ride down the Matterhorn safely on this Stinky") I don't see any circumstance where
    a suit would ever hold water. Or Mountian Dew, as it were.

    Chris
     
  8. Jd

    Jd Guest

    "B. Sanders" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > What is keeping manufacturers of bikes *specifically designed* for hucking, hardcore, downhill and
    > freeride (etc) out of court for medical liabilities?
    >
    > C'mon, riders must be getting hurt on these bikes: 110 lb Newbie buys 45lb bike with 9" travel.
    > Newbie hucks 15 ft drop to flat. Newbie goes to hospital howling with pain when he lands wrong,
    > loses grip and smashes face on handlebars. Maxillofacial surgery, here we come!
    >
    > It's one thing for highly skilled riders to execute perfect landings (most of the time). Everybody
    > else is crashing a lot. At those velocities and distances, that's gotta add up to some ambulance
    > rides. Extreme riding is all about risk and "going for it." That means pain and injury when things
    > go wrong, and that has big lawsuit written all over it.
    >
    > Why aren't the riders (or their parents, more likely) suing the crap out of the manufacturers?
    > Know of any cases? I assume that this isn't a problem, because mfr's keep cranking up the heat,
    > turning out more and more extreme bikes, with more ad copy openly advocating big drops, etc. All
    > it takes are a few broken backs and that industry is toast.

    It's called "Natural Selection". The floppers will end their "riding" careers much more quickly than
    real mountain bikers. I think it's all really hilarious.

    JD
     
  9. David

    David Guest

    "B. Sanders" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Ever hear of a book called "Unsafe at Any Speed?" This book effectively forced GM to stop selling
    > the Corvair because of its positraction differential. (Note: Many cars still have positraction.)

    Because of it's posi? I don't recall posi as being on option on the Corvair, but I could be
    wrong--if available it wasn't common. More realistic analysis says the Corvair was killed by the
    Camaro (*much* more bang for the buck, and far more reliable--oh, and lots of them had posi), more
    than by Nader. Of course it wasn't just the Camaro, but GM invested more in their front engine cars,
    and neglected the Corvair until it's death in the late 60s.

    Nader's two primary complaints against the Corvair were the swingarm rear suspension (similar to old
    Beetles & Spitfires) which lead to plenty of skittish handling and some rollovers, and the heater
    which used the cooling air straight from the engine (unlike VWs of the time which used an air-to-air
    heat exchanger for greater safety). Blow a head gasket, or exhaust manifold gasket, and you could
    die. Even in normal operation (i.e. oil leaking like a sieve all over the engine and burning), the
    air was none too fresh. The first problem was improved and then fixed in the mid-60s. But the car
    (with the handling changed from very poor to very good) dissapeared several years later.

    David
     
  10. > Look at the ads. The mfr's are openly advocating "insane drops" etc.
    They
    > are, in essence, telling the consumer: "Anybody can do 15 ft drops with these bikes. We're
    > strongly implying that it's safe and even encouraging
    you
    > to try it." The ads do not say: "You'll smash your face if you land
    wrong."

    Take any teenager who has only cruised around the neighborhood, put them at the edge of a cliff, and
    tell them that this bike will let them take the jump. Bring some clean underwear for them.

    --
    Phil, Squid-in-Training
     
  11. Loki

    Loki New Member

    Joined:
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    I do plenty of drop-off on my hardtail, of course I wouldn't attempt 15ft onto flat or even 15ft onto a perfect soft sloped landing. I do know the risks when I regularly do 6ft drops, though, and I have suffered injuries resuting from landing wrongly. I haven't sued anyone, I just grin (sometimes I even laugh), bear the pain, and ride/limp home to patch myself up.

    I'm not exactly sure why there hasnt been a flurry of lawsuits relating to injuries sustained from extreme mountain biking. Maybe the people who have the knowledge to buy a $5k full sus bike have already been hooning around on their $1k hardtail or even a whole lot of $50 kmart 'bikes'. They have been falling off all the time already and still have enough brain cells to realise that transitioning to 15ft to flat drops is inherently more dangerous than what they were doing before, even wth a $5k full sus.

    I think that some of the credit should go to LBS'es. Reputable LBS'es will warn people who are considering DH/FR/DS/XC and even refer them to local clubs to increase their skills, hence reducing injuries (usually). I'm sure not every LBS does this, but mine did :)
     
  12. Shaun Rimmer

    Shaun Rimmer Guest

    B. Sanders <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > "Shaun Rimmer" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    > >
    > > B. Sanders <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > > news:[email protected]...
    > >
    > > > All it takes are a few broken backs and that industry is toast.
    > > >
    > > > Just a thought.
    > >
    > > There's been plenty. The world isn't far gone enough yet for it to go
    that
    > > way. If and when people are no longer responsible for their actions to
    the
    > > degree they can effectively shut down an industry through their own foolishness, it's time for
    > > the dissolution of society as we know it, or
    > the
    > > end of our race. Wankers.
    >
    > Never underestimate the power of civil court to destroy an industry. It
    has
    > happened, and is happening. If teams of lawyers are currently suing large grocery store chains
    > because they didn't tell people they were dyeing the salmon pink, then anything is fair game.
    > That's not the most ridiculous
    suit
    > that I've heard of, either.

    That's different - they should have told.

    > Ever hear of a book called "Unsafe at Any Speed?" This book effectively forced GM to stop selling
    > the Corvair because of its positraction differential. (Note: Many cars still have positraction.)
    >
    > All it would take is a vocal group of parents making headlines by pushing
    a
    > wheelchair-bound 10th grader on stage to speak out against extreme bike riding, and the party
    > is over.
    >
    > The world *is* that far gone, Shaun. That's why it amazes me when I read the ad copy for
    > hucking/HC/DH/FR bikes. They're just begging for a
    lawsuit,
    > IMO. When kids are involved, people get active very quickly. Look at "Parental Advisory" labelling
    > on CD's, for instance.

    If the world is already that far gone, then we no longer have the right, to have the rights to our
    own lives.

    People need to think for themselves and quit all this spurious litigation every time their stupidity
    catches them out. I say it again: "Wankers!".

    Shaun aRe
     
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