Cycling has seen a surge in popularity in recent years. One increasingly common way for city dwellers to ride their bikes is by participating in a group ride. Group rides take place all across the country, they're free of charge and they're open to the public.
The rules are simple: you and any other cyclists who want to join congregate at a meeting point at a fixed time. Then you all traverse the city together on a predetermined route. Group rides can be a good way to meet people with similar interests and build community.
Group ride gone bad
The Spectrum Ride is a weekly group ride in Sunnyvale, California that has been going on for decades. All levels of cyclists are welcome to the event, though it is known to get competitive--and fast. Sprints on flat terrain can often exceed 30 miles per hour.
Dr. Adrian Goldstein participated in a recent Spectrum Ride, and it ended in disaster. Another cyclist crashed into him, knocking him unconscious and causing permanent damage to his neck and head. The injuries have impeded his ability to practice medicine.
Goldstein responded by suing the cyclist that caused the crash, alleging that the cyclist exhibited "negligence, carelessness, and unlawfulness." He has also included 25 other group ride participants as defendants in the suit, though the reason for this is unclear.
Could such a lawsuit be successful?
The legal protections in a group ride context are a bit vague. The event is not an official race, and cyclists do not sign a waiver to participate. Key factors that a court would need to consider include:
- Does a participant in such a ride accept an implied assumption of risk? In other words, if you enter into a group ride knowing that it can get competitive, is it reasonable to assume that there's a chance you could get hurt? You would need to prove that the answer to this question is "no."
- Were the defendant's actions excessively reckless for the situation? Proving egregious behavior would be important here.
- Did the defendant show want of scant care? Demonstrating that the defendant failed to exhibit even minimal care for their endangerment of others would be helpful to the lawsuit's success.
If you get injured due to another cyclist's recklessness, it's understandable to want to seek justice. It's worth consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney about your case to better understand your options.