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Misleading article from the Denver Post about CO Ski areas; but also just plain wrong

I lost a lot of respect for the Denver Post today.

This is my review of an article titled Colorado system for investigating ski accidents raises concerns in the Denver Post Sunday March 17, 2013.

First of all, let’s correct the article from a legal and factual standpoint!

When someone dies or is seriously injured on a Colorado ski slope, it is ski patrollers — not trained police officers, sheriff’s deputies or forest rangers — who document and determine what happened.

This statement is false if you believe it says no one else can investigate. The statement is misleading in that it makes you think no one else investigates major accidents.

Law Enforcement Investigates Possible Crimes.

It is patrollers that investigate on behalf of the ski area. No patroller investigates on behalf of anyone else, nor can they. They have not been licensed, trained nor are they allowed to. If someone else wants to investigate, they can use the powers given to them by contract (US Forest Service) or jurisdiction (Sheriff) and investigate.

Ski Patrollers don’t determine who is at fault; they try to determine what happened. That is all they are trained to do and that is all you want them to do. Volunteers and poorly-paid hard-working men and women are ski patrollers. The have been trained to get injured people off the mountain as best they can.

Any law enforcement agency with jurisdiction could investigate if they wanted to. They do not need permission; they just access the land and go investigate.

The reason why most law enforcement agencies do not investigate was set out in the article, just not recognized as the answer to their own question the article asked.

Many times, those agencies — responsible for investigating potential criminal activity, not skiing accidents — aren’t called at all.

Unless there has been a crime, law enforcement has no duty to investigate. If they investigated every crash, they would still be working on my mountain-bike crashes from last summer on US Forest Service and BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land.

Information

As a result, family members may have to accept the word of a resort employee about the circumstances that led to their relative’s death or serious injury — and typically; they need a subpoena to get even that, attorneys say.

Getting information from the resorts is difficult. Normally, the resort requires that you prove a legal need; you must be a relative or the injured person. Resorts have reasons for this. You do not want this information to go to anyone but the family because of privacy issues.

What if your relative died or was hurt at a resort? Would you be interested in having any of the following in the public domain?

·         The injured skier smelled like alcohol. His blood-alcohol level was 2.8.

·         The witness, girlfriend of the injured said…… (Spouse was home with the kids.)

·         The injured commented that’s the last time he calls in sick to work and goes skiing.

I’ve read reports with 2 of the above on the reports, and I’ve heard about the third. Is that information you want to be public about someone you love?

What about hearing about the fatality of a family member from the authorities before you read about it online? This article ignores those issues, but ski resorts try to respect the wishes of family members.

Is your need to know greater than their right to a little kindness and privacy?

What information can you get from AT&T, Exxon, or GE about their latest accidents? Unless a business is required to report certain kinds of accidents, No Business gives out its accident reports.

If you ask an attorney to get you a report, the ski area is going to respond as if the ski area is going to be sued. Consequently, when facing a lawsuit, you shut the doors. If you want a copy of the report from your or a close family member’s accident, send a letter. You won’t get names or contact information of the patrollers. It is not their job to deal with you.

Of the state’s 25 ski areas, only one — Wolf Creek Ski Area — would discuss ski-patrol training and accident investigations.

Most resorts, nationwide follow the procedures of the National Ski Patrol (NSP). Every resort differs from other ski areas, but in general, you can research how something is investigated by reviewing the NSP website and several other websites. How do you know how law enforcement investigates accidents?

The other 24 resorts either refused to answer questions regarding ski patrol or did not respond to repeated calls and e-mails from The Post.

If someone from the press, including me, is calling to ask questions, you get a little nervous. You should be nervous when I call, and I get nervous when the press calls.

While working at a resort, I received a phone call from a member of the press who said they were writing a follow-up article to one I had written for a magazine several years before. That person lied to me. They were writing an article about ski resorts and quoted me as an employee of the resort. Lesson learned.

Police jurisdiction rare

That is a very misleading heading, sorry, this is a lie. Not rare, it exists at every resort. It is just not exercised. The sole power to exercise the jurisdiction is the law enforcement agency or the district attorney. Just because they do not, does not mean jurisdiction does not exist. There is no place in the US where at least one law enforcement agency has jurisdiction. The hard thing is finding places in the US were only one law enforcement agency has jurisdiction.

The nice thing about the above heading is just the start of an entire misleading paragraph.

Jennifer Rudolph, spokeswoman for Colorado Ski Country USA, the trade group representing all of the ski areas except the four owned by Vail Resorts, said in an e-mail….

Colorado Ski County USA is a marketing group. Its job and why it is paid by the Colorado Ski resorts is to get skiers to ski in Colorado. If you don’t believe me, go to the website and read why it exists: http://rec-law.us/ZoYVRs

Only a few local police departments have any jurisdiction over ski areas, and sheriff’s offices in Summit, San Miguel, Pitkin, Garfield, Routt and Eagle counties said their role is primarily to determine whether an incident involves a crime — such as theft, public intoxication or disruption — or a collision between slope users.

See the above statement about jurisdiction. The statement in the article is absolutely wrong and very misleading. It implies that the ski resorts operate without any law enforcement agency watching what they do. That is not true. If you could find a place where no law enforcement had jurisdiction in the US it would be crowded, full of pot plants and a lot of illegal guns. There would also be hundreds of cops waiting for someone to leave.

Summit County sheriff’s deputies don’t “respond to the majority of skier accidents. If it’s a death, the coroner would respond,” said spokeswoman Tracy LeClair. “Ski patrol usually handles the majority of noncriminalaccidents.”

Let’s look at this article this way.  Who investigates accidents in your house? At least at ski areas, someone does. If there is a fatality at your house, then the same person investigates the fatality in your house as at the slopes: A coroner, unless the accident or fatality is a criminal act.

A coroner’s job is to declare people dead (C.R.S. § 30-10-601) and to determine the cause of death if it is not known or suspicious or from specific causes. (C.R.S. § 30-10-606)

“Ski patrol is there before us. Sometimes, the injured person has been evacuated before we arrive,” he said. “We have to rely on ski patrol and their analysis quite often.”

Thank Heavens! Seriously do you want to wait on the slope with a broken leg or a torn ligament until law enforcement drives from the sheriff’s office puts on skis or unloads a snow machine and comes up the slopes to you?

That is why we have the ski patrol; to get injured people to medical care. Can you see the lawsuit if this occurred? “Sorry mam, I can’t move you with that broken leg until the sheriff investigates.”

If you fall down in your house, do you call the police or the ambulance? If you fall down on the ski slopes do you call the sheriff or the ski patrol?

Sometimes, ski areas don’t give law enforcement information needed for an investigation. In 2004, a Colorado State Patrol sergeant was called to Vail to look into a fatal collision between a 13-year-old skier and an employee-driven snowmobile. He had never investigated a ski injury or fatality.

Sgt. S.J. Olmstead was assigned to the case because county law enforcement “didn’t want to deal with it,” he said in a 2006 deposition. “So somebody had to go take care of it.”

First: The story itself says there have been 47 deaths within five years (from my count of the red dots on the map.) How many police officers would have experience in investigating fatalities that occur on ski resorts?

Second: Vail is the largest employer in Eagle County. Probably, the Eagle County Sheriff’s department saw the fatality the article speaks to as a conflict of interest. Maybe the sheriff’s department knew the snowmobile driver’ or the snowmobile driver’s family. Or members of the sheriff’s department witnessed the accident. There could be dozens of things that triggered a conflict of interest issue in the mind of the Eagle county Sheriff’s department.

And thank heavens it did. Would you buy 100% any report when the Eagle County Sheriff’s department investigates a crime in the ski area of the county’s largest employer who had obvious conflicts of interest?

If you want ski accidents investigated by trained personnel, then contact your representative and have them create a law that says the sheriff’s office shall investigate all ski accidents. (Have fun paying for that one also.)

Third: If you have ever watched TV and watched a cop show, when an arrest is made the bad guy is given their Miranda Warnings, their legal rights. They have the right to remain silent. Vail, could have been held liable for the death, criminally; consequently, during a criminal investigation, the possible criminal should keep their mouth shut!

Ski areas consider ski-patrol and employee reports to be proprietary information. Therefore, victims or their families or law enforcement agencies cannot obtain them without the resorts’ permission — or a court order.

That information is not considered proprietary information, that information is proprietary information. My notes are proprietary information. The recipe you wrote down on a 3 x 5 card is proprietary or confidential information. Work you produce for work is proprietary information.

And again, do you really want your great Aunt Sally learning that her niece died in a ski accident because she was drunk?

I won’t give up my documents to anyone.

What about the rights of the deceased or the deceased family. Information in that report could be embarrassing. Deceased had a blood alcohol level of XX.X. Deceased was skiing with his girlfriend, while his wife was working. Deceased was supposed to be at work. Do you want that information floating around to members of the media or just nosey people?

The press has this idea that they should be entitled to anything they want to report a story. They don’t. There are laws that say what the media, the police and/or any other group can get from a private party or a business.

Then the article starts to complain because the ski patrol investigates an accident, and the cops don’t. The cops plead that they have a hard time getting reports from the ski patrol.

Have you tried getting a police report about an accident from a law enforcement agency? If the police want a report, they should go do it. It takes them a while to get to the far ends of the county, and it takes them a while to hike into the back country or get up the hill at a ski resort. It is a fact of life of a state with lots of wilderness and open space.

Despite the power that ski patrols have,…

What power? The power of the ski patrol is solely the power to transport an injured person down the hill and yank lift tickets of reckless skiers. They are not vested with power or given power by anyone to do anything.

The ski patrol does not have the power to detain someone who is involved in a skier v. skier collision, let alone any other power.

Accident Investigations?

This big issue with accident investigations is confusing. I’ve never had anyone investigate my mountain-bike crashes on US Forest Service land. I’ve never had someone investigate my back-country ski injuries. I’ve never had someone investigate my injuries from rock climbing. Yet there seems to be a big push in the article that 1) accident investigations are not being done and 2) if they are being done they are not being done right.

Automobile accidents are investigated because state statutes require law enforcement to investigate accidents, the damage done and the accidents occur on state land.

Automobile accidents have skid marks, car crumple zones, little black boxes, and tests that show when you hit a guard rail this way at this speed it looks like this. It snows; the wind blows and ski tracks look like every other ski track and are usually wiped out by snowboard tracks. Unless you hit a tree AND leave a mark on the tree or your body it is difficult to determine what happens.

One time in the past, I reviewed an investigation, and then did my own investigation into an accident. I talked to the injured skier and his spouse about what happened. The injured skier did not remember, and we never did figure out how the skier got hurt.

If there is a statute for someone, law enforcement to investigate accidents, then I’m sure their investigations will be better and professionally done. Right now, Ski Patrol accident investigations are done to help the ski area protect itself. The ski patrol is not tasked with any other duty by anyone.

A ski patroller’s job is to determine facts, not guess at what happened.

There is no law, no duty, and no requirement that any accident be investigated.

Accident Investigation Training

The article hits the accident investigation hard by comparing the training to that of National Park Rangers. Rangers are the law enforcement arm of the National Park Service. The job of a Ranger is basically to write tickets and arrest people for major crimes. They are law enforcement. There are statutes and regulations that empower them, command them and require them to investigation accidents and make arrests.

The article also tackles the contractual relationship between the US Forest Service and Vail, quoting from the contract. I would like to see the Denver Post contract with its writers and suppliers. I suspect that if you slam the Denver Post in an article, your career at the post is short lived.

The Bad

The ski industry is paranoid. I’ve been saying it for years. Too paranoid. However, I understand how that paranoia develops. When articles like misstate the facts and make things up, it would make you paranoid also.

As much as ski areas are paranoid the attorneys representing ski areas and the companies insuring ski areas are even more paranoid. They believe it is better not to say anything.

After this article, I understand why.

The Really Bad

The really bad is how misleading this article is. It is a veiled attempt to accomplish some goals, which are unknown at this time.

This article wasted a lot of paper and electrons attempting to make ski areas in Colorado look bad. Ski Areas in Colorado are the finest in the US. Ski Areas in Colorado are no different from any other business. The business has a duty to make a profit, and protect itself from bad publicity and lawsuits. Nothing in this article proved ski resorts did anything wrong or that any other corporation in the US does.

Read the article, the scary part is people out there believe the writer knows what they are talking about.

Disclaimer

No one paid me to write this, no one told me how to write this, no one asked me to write this. However we all have to learn that when we see or smell crap we should clean it up.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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Copyright 2012 Recreation Law (720) Edit Law

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By Recreation Law          Rec-law@recreation-law.com   James H. Moss                  Jim Moss

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New York Decision explains the doctrine of Primary Assumption of the Risk for cycling.

Cotty v Town of Southampton, et al., 2009 NY Slip Op 4020; 64 A.D.3d 251; 880 N.Y.S.2d 656; 2009 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 3919

Basically, in New York, injuries from the path or roadway, you assume the risk mountain biking, and you probably did not assume the risk

Military cyclists ride in a pace line as they ...

road biking.

The plaintiff was a member of a bicycle club and was on a club ride. The ride was a 72-mile ride, and she was part of the pace line. A pace line is a group of cyclists riding single file. When the lead cyclists starts to tire or slow that cyclists pulls out of the line and drifts to the rear, and the 2nd cyclists takes over the front spot. A pace line allows the cyclists to go faster easier because each is taking a turn at the front doing 100% of the work, and the cyclists in the back are conserving energy.

The cyclists in front of the plaintiff went down in a construction area when he was unable to negotiate the lip between paving areas. The plaintiff tried to avoid the downed cyclists slid into the roadway into a car.

The defendants were the construction company working on the road, the city that owned the road, other government entities and the cyclists who went down in front of the plaintiff.

The city defendant filed this motion for summary judgment arguing the plaintiff could not sue because of the doctrine of primary assumption of the risk. In New York, Primary Assumption of the Risk prevents suits in sporting or athletic events from “conduct or conditions that are inherent in the sport or activity.”

The trial court denied the motion, and this appeal followed. The appellate court looked at the issue as to whether the plaintiff was engaging in an activity that subjected her to the doctrine. That is, was the plaintiff when riding a bike in this manner engaging in a sporting event or athletic activity.

Appellate Court Analysis

The court did a thorough review of the issues in this case as they applied to the doctrine of primary assumption of the risk. The court defined the doctrine as:

English: An animation of a group of cyclists r...

English: An animation of a group of cyclists riding in a chain gang or pace line. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…a person who voluntarily participates in a sporting activity generally consents, by his or her participation, to those injury-causing events, conditions, and risks which are inherent in the activity…. Risks inherent in a sporting activity are those which are known, apparent, natural, or reasonably foreseeable consequences of the participation.

The effect of a plaintiff consenting to the risk (even if the plaintiff is not voluntarily or knowingly consenting) is to relieve the defendant of the duty of care that would otherwise exist in the sport or activity.

Accordingly, when a plaintiff assumes the risk of participating in a sporting event, “the defendant is relieved of legal duty to the plaintiff; and being under no duty, he cannot be charged with negligence

The reason for the doctrine is to create free and vigorous participation in athletic activities. If the doctrine did not exist with regards to sporting events, players would not fully participate, not play hard for fear of legal liability for doing so. However, the doctrine does not apply to conduct on the part of a defendant who increases the risk of harm to the plaintiff.

The doctrine not only applies to the other players in the sport or activity; it has been applied to the playing surface, the field. “If the playing surface is as safe as it appears to be, and the condition in question is not concealed such that it unreasonably increases risk assumed by the players, the doctrine applies.”

The court then looked at the facts of the case to see if the plaintiff fell into the purview of the doctrine of assumption of the risk. The court first looked at what the doctrine did not apply to with regard to municipalities.

The doctrine is not designed to relieve a municipality of its duty to maintain its roadways in a safe condition [“the doctrine of assumption of risk does not exculpate a landowner from liability for ordinary negligence in maintaining a premises”]), and such a result does not become justifiable merely because the roadway in question happens to be in use by a person operating a bicycle, as opposed to some other means of transportation….

The court reviewed mountain biking cases first and found in three situations that other courts had applied the doctrine to issues with the trail. Mountain bikers striking an exposed tree root, riding into holes in the trail, or hitting potholes or ruts in the path where all found to be subject to the doctrine and barred suit by the plaintiff.

The court looked at road biking on streets and found the courts had held in those situations that the doctrine did not apply.

…plaintiffs, who were injured while riding their bicycles on paved pathways in public parks, “cannot be said as a matter of law to have assumed risk of being injured as a result of a defective condition on a paved pathway merely because [they] participated in the activity of bicycling

Consequently, this court could not say that the plaintiff’s activities at the time of her injuries such that the doctrine of assumption of the risk would bar her suit.

…primary assumption of risk did not apply to a plaintiff who was injured when his bicycle struck a raised concrete mound on a public roadway, even though the plaintiff, like the plaintiff in the instant case, was “an avid bicyclist” and was participating in “a noncompetitive, recreational bicycle ride with about eight or nine other riders

…riding a bicycle on a paved public roadway normally does not constitute a sporting activity for purposes of applying the primary assumption of risk doctrine. By contrast, mountain biking, and other forms of off-road bicycle riding, can more readily be classified as sporting activity. Indeed, the irregular surface of an unimproved dirt-bike path is “presumably the very challenge that attracts dirt-bike riders as opposed to riding on a paved surface

One interesting point the court made was differentiating between the doctrine of primary assumption of the risk and comparative negligence which had incorporated simple assumption of the risk into it. The defendant had argued that the plaintiff assumed the risk for riding to closely behind the defendant who fell in front of her. The court held that was a comparative negligence issue for the jury, not an example of primary assumption of the risk.

Primary assumption of the risk is the play of the game, the sport or the surface. If the plaintiff’s injuries arise from how the plaintiff played the game than that is an issue of contributory negligence.

So Now What?

Whether or not a government entity would be liable for an injury on the roadway is going to be specific by state. New York has a reputation of allowing suits

English: Tour de Romandie 2009 - 3rd stage - t...

English: Tour de Romandie 2009 – 3rd stage – team time trial Français : Tour de Romandie 2009 – 3e étape – contre-la-montre par équipes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

against municipalities for such things. As such most other state probably would not. However, that requires a state by state review which you should have conducted if needed in your state.

What comes from this lawsuit that you can do if you operate a cycling club or run a ride (such as a retailer) is to have all riders sign a release that protects the club and other riders. The defendant in this case who fell in front of the plaintiff was sued for falling down on a bicycle. That seem absurd to me.

If you run a club, event or rides, make sure that an injured party cannot come back and sue your or other riders for something that is a part of cycling. If you do not believe that cyclists fall, watch the first 10 days of the 2012 Tour de France!

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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Colorado Alliance Experiential Education Environmental Ed Conference-Teaching Outside the Box Conference

Please find information below about the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education‘s annual Environmental Education Conference-Teaching Outside the Box. The deadline to register with the early bird rates is April 1. Please find more details below and visit our website. Have a great day! http://www.caee.org/civicrm/event/info?reset=1&id=2

Teaching OUTSIDE the Box 2012

April 27- April 29, 2012 ~ Loveland, CO
La Quinta Inn’s and Suites

What is Teaching OUTSIDE the Box?

Teaching OUTSIDE the Box is an action-packed workshop that brings together the best in environmental education for a weekend of engaging presentations, networking, resource sharing, and more…

This conference is for:

Teachers, Interpreters, Environmental Educators, Youth Group Leaders, Naturalists, anyone who appreciates and wants to learn about environmental education – and YOU!

Workshop Topics include…
Nature and the Outdoors * Stewardship and Sustainability * Research, Trends and Techniques * Arts and Culture * Technology * And More!

Click here for more information on the sessions being offered: http://www.caee.org/schedule-and-sessions

The conference is full of professional development opportunities including sessions:

· With fresh ideas for your classroom (hands-on activities, service learning, climate change, and more)

· About new trends in environmental education (certification, quality assurance)

· To make your life easier (communications, grant writing, volunteer management, publicity)

· To inspire you (successful EE collaborations, nature journaling)

· To rejuvenate you (yoga, movement, astronomy)

Become a member and get a discount of up to $50 on registration.

For more information and to register: http://www.caee.org/civicrm/event/info?reset=1&id=2

When

April 27th, 2012 9:00 AM through April 29th, 2012 5:00 PM

Location

La Quinta Inn and Suites 1450 Cascade Ave Loveland, CO 80537‎

Contact Phone: info

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Cyclists! We need to change this. It is legal to change it, it is right to change it.

Organization of the New York City Police Depar...

Image via Wikipedia

We have to get/force/educate law enforcement that cyclists are not just future road kill!

If you ride regularly, other than on a trainer, you’ve probably been scared, brushed or hit on a bike by a vehicle. If you are injured or your bike or other property is damaged, a

nd you call the police/state patrol/sheriff, you are probably ignored, or if they respond, still ignored.

People are starting to take action about the issue of motorists killing or almost killing cyclists. See Tell Maui and HI that you’re not coming until they prove the place is safe and the news article Family Of Killed Cyclist Mathieu Lefevre Sues NYPD For Withholding Information. The horses are hitched; it’s time to get on the band wagon!

This has to stop!

There are several things you must do (yes I’m not suggesting I’m telling you).

Before an incident.

1.     Get a law passed that gives cyclists the right to call law enforcement that makes law enforcement respond.

        The law should say the cops have to show up.

        The law should say the cops have to take a report.

2.     If you are politically active, ask politicians if they support the right of cyclists to be on the road. The law has already allowed it, so this is to find out any bias.

        Once you get an answer if is one you like to tell them you are going to support them and tell everyone.

        If it is an answer, you do not like, get it confirmed somehow. Record the response or get a written response, some way to hold the person accountable later. Usually when a politician finds out, they’re commented was stupid, they correct it.

        If they still stand by a negative answer, let the world know. If proof of the claim I’ll post it, and I know of a lot of other cycling blogs that will post it. Let your local bicycle advocacy groups know. (You are a member right!).

After an Incident

English: A commuter cyclist in the London morn...

Image via Wikipedia

For what to do before an incident and what to do after an incident see: How do you prove to a cop that you were not at fault in an accident with a car when you were on a bike?

If you follow the advice in How do you prove to a cop that you were not at fault in an accident with a car when you were on a bike?You should get a response. If not, then proceed to step 3.

After an Incident and you do not get a response!

1.     Make noise. Make lots of noise. To borrow an old slogan, be loud and proud.

        Contact the head of the law enforcement agency and get a reason why you have not had a response. Furthermore, ask for a copy of the file on the incident. In most states, you have the right and can get this file.

        Contact the District Attorney’s office and find out why charges have not been pressed against the driver. Ask for a copy of the file.

        Contact the chief political politician, mayor, commissioner, governor and ask them why nothing has happened. Ask them to investigate. A month later asks for a copy of their file on the incident.

        Contact the local Visitors Bureau and let them know that you have that their city/county/state is dangerous, and you will let other cyclists know. Those cyclists’ make up a big part of the economy and cyclists visit the area to ride.

The more the merrier!

Ask your friends and other cyclists to help. They can also contact law enforcement, the District Attorney, the visitor’s bureau and the media to add weight and support to what you are doing.

In all communications, it is important for both you, and others that are assisting, to copy people on the communications. In many cases the people you copy are the most important part of the letter. CC everyone above on each other’s letters. Always include any bicycle groups or clubs with a copy. Include bike shops as a cc in your communication so the people you are contacting understand that you are getting the word out.

In your communications be polite and be persistent. Set up a schedule. Give the prosecutor and law enforcement a month at first. No response gives them another month, then 2 weeks then every week. I would suggest you do this in such a way you can keep records of your communications. What you said and when you said it. Email or in writing is best.

In your communications be polite and be persistent. Do not threaten anything except your vote and your obligation to communicate. You do not want to put yourself in any box except as an aggrieved citizen or worse charged with harassing a government official.

If you have not heard anything after the first week, get on the publicity horn. Prepare a written statement of what occurred. Include any witness names and contact information. Include any photographs, GPS files, etc. and send it to every media outlet in your community and every cycling media outlet. Most will ignore it, but on a slow news day, you may get lucky.

You want your initial contact to be valid enough so that you are not considered a whack job by the media. You want to come across as a member of the community hat was almost killed, and you want to know why the police have not done anything.

If you want to invest a ton of time, you can go to the courts in many jurisdictions and request a special prosecutor. A special prosecutor is one from another county whom the court orders to investigate the case and see if charges should be brought. This is rarely granted, however, it will show that you are serous, and it will help get more media interest in your case.

You may never get a ticket issued against the driver. However, you will let the community know that cycling is dangerous in your community and what politicians and other elected officials think about the issue.

If enough people do something, something will happen. Eventually, law enforcement will track down and start issuing tickets to.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

If you like this let your friends know or post it on FB, Twitter or LinkedIn

Copyright 2012 Recreation Law (720) Edit Law

blog@rec-law.us

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Wow, someone apologized

I wrote about Adam Dzialo in Serious Disconnect: Why people sue. If you read this post, please read the comment. Comments: Recreation Law: Serious Disconnect: Why people sue. Adam Dzialo’s father left a post saying the college finally apologized after 9 years.

The Portsmouth Herald Mass News reported in Family of boy injured at camp reaches $936,000 settlementthat the case settled.

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MA proposed stupid bill to promote litigation in kayaking

I always love it when people who have no idea what they are talking about, tell others how to do something. I’m not talking about tourists at Devils Tower

English: Modern sea kayak in west Wales

Image via Wikipedia

Monument; in this case I’m talking the Massachusetts‘s legislation and how to teach sea kayaking.

Want proof? This was reported as testimony before a legislative committee.

“beginners are most at risk when they are fully strapped into a kayak….”

Rep. William M. Straus, D-Mattapoisett is the sponsor of the bill and author of the quote above. As a member of the board of directors of the Trade Association of Paddlesports (but speaking for myself) and a boater for 45 years, I’ve never seen a kayak that I was “strapped into” fully or not fully.

The Massachusetts legislation is proposing that kayaking schools must teach someone how to wet exit.

That is as dumb as it sounds!

The idea is based on, of course, a grieving family person, who is guessing that there relative died when he could not wet exit from his overturned boat. So we need to make sure no one else suffers that same fate, I guess.

First off, no reports show how or why the person died. But that does not matter, the legislature needs to act.

What’s worse is the witness reports about the accident state he victim was upright when he died, that he had rolled back up. Kayak student drowns off West Island. Consequently the new law about teaching wet exiting is not even based on events the law attempts to cure.

Things get worse. A kayak instructor would have to have the following to teach kayaking:

Is this measure going to save a life? No. What this measure will do is three things.

First it will make the widow feel better. She will feel like she has done something to keep someone from dying. She will feel like her husband did not die in vain. Our loved ones are not allowed to die without a cause or accomplishment in the US we must go out with either a bang or a legacy.

Second it will create lawsuits. We now have rules that will give anyone injured kayaking the opportunity to start a lawsuit. The first aid card of the instructor was out of date, the class did not fully cover wet exiting, the ACA certified instructor left the class for a minute and the non-ACA certified assistant was the only person there. I was not taught correctly therefore I can sue.

Third we will also have more government regulation. We have a state agency sticking their nose into kayaking schools and telling them how to do things. Again, another group of people who know nothing about what they are talking about, telling someone else how to do it. This blog seems to be coming around full circle: People with no clue telling those with the necessary education and experience how to do something.

See House endorses kayak wet-exit training

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