THE TBSS RULE ON OHIO BIKE TRAILS

Bike Trail Crashes in Ohio are … weird…and difficult from a legal perspective.

There is case law that says “a cyclist on the bike trail is a ‘recreational user'” – the LEGAL impact of that simple sentence is HUGE… it basically ELIMINATES virtually every claim you, the cyclist, may have against someone who carelessly causes you to crash on the Bike Trail…

Why wie kann man bei youtube musik herunterladen? Read on…

Under Ohio’s body of case law if you are engaged in a recreational activity there is a bit of an assumption that some careless things might happen… at a softball game, you might get clobbered by an errant throw… in badminton you might take a birdie to the eye… in order to have a CLAIM against the errant thrower/birdie whacker you have to prove MORE THAN “negligence” – you have to prove that the other person’s conduct rose to a level of “reckless” behavior or “Willful” or “wanton” behavior… that’s difficult to do in a softball game… kyrillische schrift herunterladen.

That same rule applies, under current Ohio appellate court law, on the bike trail.

If you ride your bike TO the bike trial using public roads the standard of care is “negligence” or, basically, carelessness lokalzeit herunterladen. If someone is careless and causes you to get hurt, then you have a valid claim against them…

But…

Once your wheels TOUCH the “Bike Trail” you magically turn into a “recreational user” – even if you are using the trail as a commuter to get to work – and as a recreational user, if you are hurt due to someone else’s carelessness or negligence then the TBSS rule applies— Too Bad So Sad – no recovery for your fractures unless you can prove reckless, willful or wanton misbehavior…almost impossible in the typical bike trail crash…

One exception to this harsh rule is if you are hurt by a DOG…

I’ve had several cases in which cyclists on the bike trail get hurt because a loose dog knocks them over, or because the owner allows a 10 foot leash to stretch across the path like a trip wire… in THOSE cases Ohio’s Dog Laws apply and the owner/keeper of the dog is subject to “strict liability” for damages caused by the dog…

In fact, in Ohio, an older Ohio Supreme Court case states that the dog owner is subject to “absolute liability” when the dog causes injury, subject to very limited defenses office 365 rechnung herunterladen. Liability is a slam dunk and the only issue to decide is Damages.

Given the uptick in the use of bicycles for actual transportation purposes, perhaps the “right” case will come along and I can try again in the court of appeals to get this harsh TBSS rule reversed… we’ll see… So far, though, it’s been rough slogging for Cyclist v jdk 8en. Cyclist crash cases on the trail…

Even if the crash is caused by a defect in the trail you have an almost impossible task of pursuing a claim. The reason[s]?

First, the owner of the trail enjoys IMMUNITY under Ohio’s “Recreational User Statute” – The Recreational User Statute [capital R] is different than the “recreational user” rule in the case law [small “r”]. The Rec User statute was passed by the legislature to provide immunity to those who open their lands [without cost] to any sort of recreational pursuits… could be hiking trails, hunting, bicycling, fishing.. the immunity applies to negligence claims and, again, unless you can prove some act that goes BEYOND negligence you will likely lose the claim… If the landowner charges a $1.00 fee then the immunity evaporates. The owner could be a private person, an entity [corporate or non-profit], a city or county, the State or a Park District… whoever owns the land and opens it up for FREE to the public is protected.

The second reason claims against Trail owners are difficult in Ohio is that most trails are owned by public or quasi/psuedo-public entities which enjoy a broad Sovereign Immunity under Ohio’s statutes. Again, the legislature decided to pass laws to protect “the state” and municipalities, cities, towns, townships, park districts, quasi-public bodies and the like… “The King Can Do No Wrong” is the legal premise at work here and it is very difficult to prove a set of facts that fits into the narrow exceptions to Ohio’s sovereign immunity laws… a “known” pothole may lead to liability but only if there is proof of notice…and proof that it was not “open and obvious” … failure to maintain roads & trails may also lead to claims but…for trails… a negligent failure to “maintain” could fall under the Recreational User statute or a trial user might be a “recreational user” who has to prove more than negligence…

Like I said…this stuff is difficult…and complicated. We just filed suit this week against a City. That will be interesting as ALL of these issues…and more… are in play… maybe… it’s … complicated… can’t write too much more now, but as the case plays out I will keep you [“you” indeed… who are “you” oh readers of the web?] posted…

There are some interesting fact patterns that have been litigated against the state & land/trail owners… I have had a few cases but they are VERY tough to win…

In one case I handled a decade or more ago, three “experienced” older riders were riding the trail they always rode. On this particular day it had “misted” or rained a bit but no rough downpours. The 3 men were on their usual trek on a popular section of an Ohio bike trail when all three suddenly went DOWN… the bike tires just slipped out from under them…one suffered a fractured hip…

I took the case and we did some digging, finding that the stripes on that part of the trail had been recently recoated. Did more digging and found some complaints from other trail users about the suddenly slippery nature of the trail there. Filed suit and did more digging… and found a memo in which the trail agency discussed re-coating the stripes …

We took the deposition of the guy who handled the machine that laid down the striping. He told us that they always add glass beads to their striping. Usually, the beads are for reflectivity on roads, but the beads also increased friction – made the stripes LESS slippery.

However, the work order from the county said NO beads. The guy running the striping machine had a verbal disagreement with the guy at the county on the day he did the work. The guy at the county believed the glass beads made the stripes MORE slippery… So, on the day of the striping the guy with the machine followed the county’s orders based on the decision and opinion of the guy from the county –> NO beads were added to the stripes.

A few days later my client learned, the hard way, that the guy at the county was very wrong… but…

The county, and all public agencies in Ohio, had very strong arguments that immunity applied… their lawyers were laying the groundwork for a long legal battle on the immunity issue. This was a very tough case that we eventually resolved, but for a lesser amount than we would have liked due to the risk of a flat out slam dunk against us on the law… My client made a very good recovery and continued riding, almost every day – 1000 miles/month – and continued working out 3 days a week at the Y until his death at age 92 just last year…

So there you go… another reason to RIDE on the PUBLIC ROADS…

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