Family of cyclist sues Strava

Two years ago, William “Kim” Flint was killed on his bicycle as he allegedly tried to beat a Strava speed record. This morning, his survivors say they plan to file a negligence lawsuit against San Francisco-based Strava, claiming Strava are responsible for ensuring the crowd-sourced routes are safe.

Strava users upload GPS tracks to the popular service for cyclists and runners to compare their times against themselves and other users. Cyclists create ‘segments’ to compare themselves against other cyclists who ride the same portion of a route. Since Flint’s death in June 2010, some people believe Strava encourages people to ride recklessly so they can improve their rankings on Strava.

Flint was apparently going for a new record on South Park Drive in the hills east of Berkeley, California when he slammed into a car, and speculation began almost immediately that Strava might share part of the blame.

Strava has no comment on the pending litigation . I wonder if their risk management planned for a lawsuit like this?

Via Jenny.

42 Comments

  • Gino
    June 18, 2012 - 11:41 am | Permalink

    An alternative headline could be: Family Sues Strava because William Flint Was Riding Like an Idiot. This is like suing a speedometer manufacturer because the instrument allows readings above posted speed limit signs. 

  • June 18, 2012 - 12:35 pm | Permalink

    This lawyer thinks that the lawyer filing this suit should think twice about his professional obligations.  Yes, clients are the one that drive the claims, but if there’s really not grounds for the claim there? The lawyer should explain that.

    This won’t go anywhere.

  • David
    June 18, 2012 - 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Frivolous. 

  • June 18, 2012 - 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Strava’s CEO came out with a blog posting (yesterday?) with a series of values, etc. Timing makes sense now.

  • June 18, 2012 - 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Lawyers need to get really jobs. I use Strava as means of comparing my speed over a section of the road with other users.  It is always MY responsibility to ride to the conditions – I take into account my fitness, the weather and the traffic – Strava is purely a recorder not a prescriber

  • Thelargefamily
    June 18, 2012 - 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Oh come on. As sad as this story is, when are people going to take responsibility for their own actions? Strava just offer a service, they don’t make people ride too fast – the rider in question here was riding in a reckless manner – that’s his fault not stravas. And yes, I am passionate about riding my bike, sometimes too fast, and use Strava but I know it’s at my risk

  • CP
    June 18, 2012 - 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Very sad to hear of the death of anyone but how could anyone possibly think that it is reasonable to bring such a law suit? Bit like suing Coca Cola for making you fat. Whatever happened to common sense?

  • Blindthief
    June 18, 2012 - 1:59 pm | Permalink

    And I suppose that because a route includes several stop lights, Strava is also responsible if the cyclist is stupid enough to go through a red light???

    COME ON!!! Only in the U.S.

  • Steve_edwards25
    June 18, 2012 - 2:08 pm | Permalink

    And this is why America is mocked the world over.

  • Bionnaki
    June 18, 2012 - 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Here’s how stuff like this goes down: Attorneys chase the ambulance, convince family that their lost one was never at fault and there is someone else to blame, they will “finally get closure” if they be strong and attack this murderer, attorney gets his percentage and moves onto the next case.

  • June 18, 2012 - 3:34 pm | Permalink

    In related news, morbidly obese man sues spoons for making him fat.

  • Colin
    June 18, 2012 - 4:20 pm | Permalink

    Stupid Americans

  • Gravity
    June 18, 2012 - 5:01 pm | Permalink

    I’m not so sure the lawsuit is frivolous.. I was recently a Strava KOM on a descent.. when my record was broken I received a direct email that notified me and expressed I needed to get back out there and ‘show them who was boss’. Strava isn’t taking into account that I was already blowing the posted speed limit by 20+ mph on State property. As harmless as Strava can be it’s has a strange was of playing to the ego.. Sort of the Drink, Drink, Drink… College days.

  • Jhmahosky
    June 18, 2012 - 5:23 pm | Permalink

    Sad to see someone died. But why can’t people be responsible for their own stupidity, the society cannot take accountabitlity for their own actions anymore. It is always someone elses fault and never their own.

  • Steve
    June 18, 2012 - 6:15 pm | Permalink

    i might sue them cause its bad for my self esteem that i cant break some other guys record… i am willing to settle though.

  • Donald James
    June 18, 2012 - 6:25 pm | Permalink

    Strava is crack for Type A riders and runners….I know, I’m hooked!  But before there was Strava there was Motion Based, then Garmin Connect.  There have been sanctioned races by USAC, IMBA….on and on. Before there was GPS and Cyclometers we relied on our senses to determine speed…”Kim” knew how fast he was going before he went splat.
    No one puts their toes on the line without knowing the risks,  how many have eaten it on a XC MTB race?, Dislocated a shoulder or busted a collar bone in a Crit?  Did they stand up and sue the promoter or rider next to them? No!!
    The only thing that Strava posts up if you are fastest, is an image of a Burger King hat….and if you upgrade you can filter the list by age and weight classifications so you don’t have to compare yourself to some Pro or 27yr old Cat 1 racer……so this lawsuit is complete B$ by an opportunist.

    But as unfortunate as the events of Mr Flint’s demise, no one made those fateful choices other than himself.  I suspect this has more to do with him not having his estate properly in order and enough Life Insurance to cover his obligations as a family man. 

    Ever seen a disclosure in NZ for a Bungee jump?  This is dangerous, you could die, you can’t sue me here in NZ, enjoy yourself.  Any questions?
     

  • Donald James
    June 18, 2012 - 6:32 pm | Permalink

     I had 46 KOMs as of today..they come and go.  But you inherently know which ones you’ve hit the limit on.  Fact, if you can’t climb worth a dam then the descent is futile.  Those emails saying someone “Stole” your KOM, they probably need to have a better term.
    But Strava is crack for athletes as Facebook is for couch potatoes and those that need to recreate themselves.

  • Donald James
    June 18, 2012 - 6:37 pm | Permalink

     LOL. 

  • joe
    June 18, 2012 - 9:17 pm | Permalink

    Matier and Ross from sfgate report that its his parents who are binging the lawsuit. My parents would say just because Jimmy jumped off the cliff doesn’t me an you have to.  Use your head! 

  • ladyfleur
    June 18, 2012 - 9:46 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think Strava is liable by any means, but I do think that encouraging people to exceed the speed limit through competitions on city streets is dangerous and puts the public at risk.  I’m not talking about climbing competitions, I’m talking about flat routes where segments cross stop signs or signal lights, and most particularly steep descents.

    I say this as someone who loves descending.  It’s the only reason I drag my slow climbing ass us the hill.  The descent alone is crack for me.  I recently descended Diablo with a friend who uses Strava.  We caught up to multiple sets of cars, who surprisingly pulled over to let us pass. It felt like it wasn’t a fast descent since we had to hang for a bit behind each group.  At the South Gate/North Gate station, my friend says, “Hey, we’re second in our age group.” 

    I had a fleeting thought: “maybe we should drive back up here next weekend, I know we could do better.” Then I got smart and now forbid her to tell me our rankings.  I don’t need any encouragement to do stupid things.

  • TDogCA
    June 18, 2012 - 10:48 pm | Permalink

    Too bad Strava can’t counter-sue the family for being a bunch of greedy a$$-hats.

  • Rick H Harrison
    June 18, 2012 - 11:08 pm | Permalink

    Condolences to the family, its never good to loose a loved one.

    However, i cant believe this can be possible… as many people say, only the rider can be responsible for this tragic accident, I’ll say no more.

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  • June 19, 2012 - 1:45 am | Permalink

    Why not try and sue the bike manufacturers as well? After all, they made a bike that was capable of travelling at excessive speed.

    This is why the US becomes a laughing stock with normal, sensible people. As soon as someone has and accident, there must be money to be made via a lawsuit.

    Sadly this type of behaviour is spreading and has hit the UK shores. God help us!

  • ibike2much
    June 19, 2012 - 3:05 am | Permalink

    I agree with the family. I’m an semi pro cyclist and as a cyclist I don’t need the added hassle of common sense or reason when I ride. It’s tough enough pushing to beat a virtual time set by some random stranger to strike my ego.
    Seriously family! Suing Strava is an insult to your deceased family member. It’s saying, my son was to stupid to use common sense and ride safe so it must be your responsibility to think for him.
    This lawsuit is an insult to cyclists everywhere.

  • ibike2much
    June 19, 2012 - 3:09 am | Permalink

    Why didn’t the bicycle have air bags. Sue! I ride a ton and your right about this bring a frivolous suit.

  • June 19, 2012 - 3:52 am | Permalink

     This is America mate, don’t expect them to use any logic, esp. if there’s a chance for a lawyer to make some $$$ :-(

  • June 19, 2012 - 3:54 am | Permalink

     The immoral behaviour of spine-less lawyers should be sue-able…

  • Blah
    June 19, 2012 - 12:23 pm | Permalink

    But did he get KOM?

  • pacmanj
    June 19, 2012 - 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Seriously, there are really stupid people out there, drivers, pedestrians, cyclists etc. who are making poor decisions  Have seen them all from the guy texting while walking across an intersection to a cyclist cutting in on a semi truck just before it makes a right turn and then having to jump off the bike not to get crushed. 

  • Joep2517
    June 19, 2012 - 1:24 pm | Permalink

    ” some people believe Strava encourages people to ride recklessly so they can improve their rankings on Strava.”  – Really I’ve never seen a Strava representative runnign beside a cyclist telling them to do stupid things!

  • Hairy
    June 20, 2012 - 2:37 am | Permalink

    Ai…. Americans can be idiots. 

  • Bob
    June 20, 2012 - 8:56 am | Permalink

     If I do a crit on city streets, we may go through 8 intersections–6 stop signs and two traffic lights. The road is closed. It’s a race. Now I put it up on Strava and want to see how I did on each lap, so I make a lap segment. I make it public to compare myself to others who rode the same race, but in other categories. Does this encourage others to exceed the speed limit on city streets and run stop signs? Anyone who CHOOSES to “compete” against my time on the same segment, CHOOSES to do so. It’s their choice, their decision. The outcome is on THEM.

  • ladyfleur
    June 20, 2012 - 10:08 am | Permalink

    Yes, people who choose to break the law competing against your crit lap times are responsible for their actions, not you, nor Strava.

    But as someone who might be crossing the intersection on foot, on my bike or in my car, I don’t want anyone or anything out there encouraging people to blow through that intersection.  It affects my personal safety, not just the idiot rider’s. The outcome could be on ME.

    If someone came out with a motorcycle or car-oriented service similar to Strava that encouraged riders/drivers to compete for times, say on Skyline Blvd or Hwy 1, including segments that go through stop signs and stoplights can you honestly say you would be OK with it?

  • rossyrossy
    June 20, 2012 - 11:16 am | Permalink

    sue gravity for pulling him down the hill!

  • Skatteredsieds
    June 21, 2012 - 1:27 pm | Permalink

    And if that app earned its founders millions of dollars, to boot? This lawsuit is not so frivolous or open and shut aS most here seem to think. So easy to just make the macho claim, “every rider for him or herself, the families be damned.”

  • Downtownhotel
    June 22, 2012 - 10:12 am | Permalink

     But if they sent the guy an email saying “neener-neener-neener, now you’ve got to go beat this other guy on public streets and dangerous and illegal speeds” that’s almost the same thing.

    I’ve done dumb stuff at crazy speeds on a bike, but I never had anyone even remotely encourage me to do it. 

    A jury of non-cyclists will not look kindly on such e-mails, however ridiculous this whole suit is.

  • Downtownhotel
    June 22, 2012 - 10:13 am | Permalink

     Killed On the Mountain?

    Why yes, yes he did.

  • June 24, 2012 - 9:54 am | Permalink

    AND No cyclist ever road fast on that segment of road before Strava!! Why is it people always want to blame someone else for their decisions when things go wrong.

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  • Chris
    June 26, 2012 - 11:45 am | Permalink

    I might buy this argument – if we were talking about a child (and his less-developed brain and judgement).  But adults are supposed to have outgrown such “peer” pressure.  Taking stupid risks because of even-less-real (i.e. virtual) peer pressure – and for a little cyber trophy – is just plain dumb.

  • Gmail2020
    June 26, 2012 - 11:04 pm | Permalink

    I agree. Suing Strava is just yet another example in an endless list of ridiculous lawsuits plaguing the nation. I think perhaps it time we all join together and file a class action lawsuit against the American Bar Association. Since it’s the ABA who is responsible for law school accreditation, the ABA should be held liable for creating this insane environment wherein greedy (or starving) lawyers have the ability to file these kinds of awfully expensive nuisance lawsuits. Yes, it’s the ABA, with the help of their brethren lawyers in great positions of power (half of congress as well as the president of the United States are all lawyers) have created this “target rich” environment in America where lawyers can sue anybody anytime for any reason.

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