South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Bicyclist May Not Sue Other Race Participant for Causing Crash
Description Appeals court affirmed that a bicycle rider injured because of the negligence of another rider, which caused him to crash, had no suit under the assumption of risk doctrine. Only if the other party's behavior is intentional or recklessness outside the range of expected behavior may there be a cause of action.
Topic Torts
Key Words Negligence; Assumption of Risk; Sports
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Moser and Ratinoff participated in an organized, long-distance bicycle ride involving hundreds of participants. Moser signed a waiver of liability form, in which he expressly assumed the risk of various injuries, including those cause by other participants. During the ride, Ratinoff swerved into Moser, causing him to crash and suffer injuries. Moser sued Ratinoff for general negligence. The trial court granted summary judgment against Moser, who appealed.
Decision

Affirmed. An express assumption of risk is a complete defense to a negligence claim. The primary consideration of primary assumption of risk is to avoid imposing a duty, which might chill vigorous participation in the activity and thereby alter its fundamental nature. Of course there is not unbridled legal immunity to all defendants participating in sporting activities-they may not increase the likelihood of injury above that which is inherent. If an injury is inflicted intentionally or by behavior so reckless as to be outside the range of the ordinary activity involved in the sport, there may be tort action, but not for negligence. Even though Ratinoff may have violated rules of reasonable safety in riding, his action did not go beyond negligence and such collision is an inherent danger.

Citation Moser v. Ratinoff, 2003 WL 203255 (Ct. App., Calif., 2003)

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