"There is safety in numbers." This common expression reflects the idea that being part of a group makes it more difficult to become the victim of an accident or attack. While this may be true when it comes to walking at night or exploring an unfamiliar place, it isn't always the case when it comes to cycling.
In fact, riding in a group can expose people to risks that they would otherwise avoid if they were riding solo. And should an accident happen, the question of liability can be difficult to answer.
This is the very issue at the center of a lawsuit one rider filed after he was seriously injured during the Spectrum Ride in the Bay Area.
The lawsuit names one rider in particular and 25 other unnamed cyclists participating in the well-known group ride. According to reports like this one, the injured rider claims that the individual named in his lawsuit lost control of his bike during the ride and crashed into him, causing numerous serious injuries.
Assumed risk or gross negligence?
The question over whether the named and unnamed riders in lawsuit are responsible for the man's injuries remains unanswered at this point. On the one hand, there is a rider who suffered serious injuries caused by another rider. If that rider was acting dangerously or without concern for others' safety, there could be grounds for a gross negligence claim and financial damages.
On the other hand, you have a group of riders participating in a ride that has a reputation for being fast and dangerous. Individual riders who decide to join likely know that there is risk of injury involved, which would be the implied assumption of risk. Under these circumstances, assuming the risk could bar a person from recovering damages in the event of an accident.
No easy answers
While this specific case remains unresolved, it can serve as an important reminder to other cyclists that it's not always easy to determine liability after an accident, especially when there are numerous people involved.
Discussing a specific accident with an attorney familiar with bike laws in California can be crucial in assessing your legal options.