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Lawsuit stemming from crash during mountain bike race is withdrawn

Posted by on January 27th, 2015 at 1:56 pm

“With this decision, the future of mountain bike racing in state of Oregon has a somewhat brighter outlook.”
— Park Chambers, owner of Fat Tire Farm

A lawsuit many feared would have an ominous ripple-effect on mountain bike race promotion in the state of Oregon has been withdrawn.

As we shared earlier this month, Lisa Belair-Sullivan filed a lawsuit against a race promoter and sponsor after she crashed and injured herself on a log that had fallen across a trail. Belair-Sullivan was warming up for the Dog River Super D mountain bike race in May. Her lawsuit contended that event promoter Petr Kakes of Hurricane Racing and Park Chambers of Fat Tire Farm (a shop who was the title sponsor of the event) created a safety hazard that she was unable to avoid.

On January 9th, we confirmed with Belair-Sullivan that she withdrew the case. While she has yet to make an official public statement, Park Chambers issued one on January 23rd. We’ve pasted the statement below in its entirety:

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Petr (Hurricane Racing) and I (Park-Fat Tire Farm) would like to thank the cycling community as a whole for coming together on this issue.

Fat Tire Farm (FTF) and Hurricane Racing (HR) have learned that the lawsuit filed against them at the Multnomah County Court has been withdrawn by the plaintiff. With this decision, the future of mountain bike racing in state of Oregon has a somewhat brighter outlook. FTF and HR are looking forward to the upcoming season and will soon announce future plans to continue to support competitive riding.

No one likes to see accidents happening during events. Mountain bikers, race organizers and promoters work together diligently to avoid such situations. However, all of us who ride bikes competitively have fallen before and we know crashes are part of the activity that we love and chose as participants. Unfortunately, gravity supported riding involves falls as part of the sport.

Let’s recognize, for the future of competitive mountain biking events, that there are inherent risks involved. Our hope is that each participant makes the right personal choice and takes appropriate responsibility in exercising judgment during events or while mountain biking. Personal responsibility while riding is paramount to the sport, trail access and the continued well being of competitive mountain biking for the racing community as a whole.

Park Chambers

Fat Tire Farm
21st Ave Bicycles
Hood River Bicycles
2714 NW Thurman St
Portland, Or 97210

CORRECTION: The original version of this story said the lawsuit was “dismissed.” It was actually withdrawn. Sorry for the mistake.

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RealisticdavemessNE Portland RiderPeteMy Magic Hat Recent comment authors
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jeff
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jeff

seems like Lisa’s clearer head prevailed.

My Magic Hat
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My Magic Hat

If by “Clearer Head” you mean the realization that there are far too many people who know how (and on which day) the crash occurred for her to have a prayer of winning in any case against the promoters, then you’re very much correct.

I hope she is barred from as many events as possible. Suing an event promoter over a result of your own incompetence is bad enough, but to do so over an injury that DID NOT OCCUR ON THE DAY OF THE EVENT . . . is truly slimy.

Unforgivable.

Switch to Chess, Lisa.

Pete
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Pete

Or maybe her attorney’s…

Jonathan Radmacher
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Jonathan Radmacher

With the Oregon Supreme Court’s holding that blanket waivers are unconscionable, I suspect that more promoters of all kinds of outdoor activities (not just ski resorts) will be sued for negligence.

Mike
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Mike

“negligence”

The United States – where you can sue someone else for your own negligence.

I am glad she decided to pull the lawsuit.

Rick
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Rick

SW Trails helped to get ORS 105.668 passed a few years ago. It has greatly changed the outlook for making walking trails on unbuilt, public right-of-way in certain places that need walking trails.

Donnie
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Blanket waivers in “some” circumstances are unconscionable, but not all. The Court did a good job of parsing out some of the factors it will consider when looking at waivers. The ruling helps some folks and hurts others depending on the circumstances. But you’re right, it will lead to more litigation of both the legitimate and illegitimate variety.

Steven Soto
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Steven Soto

Dismissed or withdrawn? I don’t see these as the same thing.

Spiffy
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Spiffy

I agree… it looks like she withdrew her case, rather than having it dismissed at court…

withdrawn: they saw the error of their ways
dismissed: a judge saw the error of their ways

Bjorn
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Bjorn

Is this withdrawal permanent or could she potentially refile it again later since no ruling occured?

NE Portland Rider
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NE Portland Rider

I think lawsuits like this are more common when the person doing the suing feels anonymous. I think BikePortland and whoever else publicized this did a community service by making it very public. If your case has merit, the community will back you up. If the case doesn’t, the community should not let you hide. Especially since lawsuits like this have an effect on us all.

davemess
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davemess

Umm, didn’t her lawyer go to the Oregonian? (or at least agreed to talk to the Oregonian (which is why it was picked up here).
If she was trying to stay anonymous that seems like an odd move.

Realistic
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Realistic

As mentioned before, only in America can you attempt to sue someone else for one’s own incompetence. You can also find an attorney hungry for publicity that will pursue such an irresponsible lawsuit. It’s never good when someone gets hurt, but one needs to take personal responsibility for their actions. This can be a dangerous sport, crashes happen. I certainly hope this young, irresponsible lady is banned from any future events.