Stravacide? Family Suing Strava Over Son's Death 47

Two years ago, Kim Flint, a 41-year-old Strava user died while racing down a hill near Berkeley, CA in pursuit of a 'King of the Mountain' title. Now his family is suing Strava over the death of their son, claiming that "the company's website encouraged him to speed."

For those unfamiliar with Strava, it's essentially a way to track rides using GPS and then compare times to other users. The user with the fastest time on a particular segment of a ride is crowned King of the Mountain (KOM) for that segment.

The family's lawyer told ABC, "They assume no responsibility. They don't put cones out. They don't have anybody monitor and see whether a course, or a specific segment, is dangerous." However, within the agreed upon terms of use, language exists to exclude the site from blame for bodily injury or death while using their service.

Mark Riedy, a Strava representative, issued a statement saying, "The death of Kim Flint was a tragic accident, and we expressed our sincere condolences when it occurred in 2010. Based on the facts involved in the accident and the law, there is no merit to this lawsuit."

You can read the full suit as filed in court here.

So, is Strava to blame? Let's hear your thoughts.

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47 comments
  • hugovdm

    11/11/2012 1:09 AM

    I'm a keen Strava user. I mostly compete on the climbs though, I treat the downhills as "informational only" (though perhaps because I'm not a skilled downhiller. Kim was also on a road bike though). Users *want* to be informed when their KOM is beaten. And this is a wonderful motivator for the climbs. What a (sensationalist: just listen to the tone of voice) news report like this doesn't look at, is the health benefits of the site: how many people live much healthier lives thanks to finding some motivation through making their cycling more "social"?

    So the question is just about "negligence". Strava now allows any user to flag a segment as dangerous. This permits the riders that see each segment up close and personal to make that call. Strava itself doesn't, and certainly can't, go scout out every ride all around the world, of course. The site needs "safe harbour", similar to how hosting providers aren't liable for copyright infringements their users commit, as long as they respond correctly to takedown requests.

    Perhaps this "flag this segment" feature was not available in 2010? I still think the US is litigation crazy, and people need to take responsibility for their own actions rather than always seeking to blame whoever or whatever they can. "My coffee didn't have a warning on it that it is hot!" Uh... c'mon, *it's coffee!*

    Of course the accident was tragic, and my thoughts and condolences are with the family. (And my father's plane crash was also a tragic accident, we didn't seek to sue the plane manufacturer for having a plane that performs badly in certain conditions...)

  • LeeQuarrysFinest

    6/30/2012 5:24 PM

    if this guy was a car racer and his team ordered him to go faster when he wasent happy with the car then maybe teams fault. but this guy was acting on his on decisions i have had plenty of bikes and all of them have had brakes he could of just used them. to some pepole pride is more important than staying alive. and if he was already king of the hill then he knew the route and knew the dangers ... right???

  • GreyHornet

    6/22/2012 9:23 AM

    I'm not sure I agree 100% with the Law suit but I will give my 2c. The way I see it is, without Strava providing instant updates thet his KOM was taken from him, would he have pushed even faster? He went a pushed the limits beyond what he could handle because the site told him he was no loner on top. Lets just say if he didn't have Strava in his life, he would have done the decent and been like that was a hell of a ride, but probably not have pushed outside of his limits. I have a friend of mine who is a very smart , bright kid , who is fast on a road bike.... then he got on the Strava thing and pushed his limits going for a KOM and lost control in a turn and went off the side of the cliff. End story= broken back and air lifted out of the canyon. Another friend of ours was with them and said he knew they wouldnt make the turn so he ran up the embankment before the turn.....

    I know these 2 guy would have NEVER ridden that rode that fast before joining Strava...


    on the flip side were capable of making our own decisions.
    I just dont think he would have gone that fast if the site didnt say he lost a KOM

  • OCRider

    6/21/2012 2:47 PM

    Kind of like suing Wiki for bad information. These are sad days for those not looking for a free ride.

  • lev

    6/20/2012 4:20 PM

    This ridiculous lawsuit is already taking effect. A downhill section of an off road trail in Wales, UK, has had its KOM removed as it is 'hazardous'. This is not on a public highway, which is the reason the guy died in the lawsuit. If Strava start censoring the segments, I will stop using it. In fact, the 'segments' are the only reason I stopped using gamin connect!

  • Big Bird

    6/20/2012 8:02 AM

    Are you reading all this Big Bear?

  • PaucH

    6/20/2012 3:23 AM

    just plain total bull.. like i always say.. you can always stop and get off your bike and walk some sections, be it trail or road, there is no shame in that.. they might as well sue the bike makers for encouraging their son to ride bikes.. just s2pid..

  • lev

    6/20/2012 1:15 AM

    Stupid law suit and the Lawyer, if she loses, should be struck off for wasting the courts time, Strava's time and prolonging the families grief. The family should get on with their lives and be glad Kim was defending something he was passionate about.

  • Skelbert

    6/19/2012 11:56 PM

    Sad to see someone placing the blame toward Strava when they have no cause to sue. People will continue to go as fast on trails and roads for their own personal reasons, regardless of Strava. This lawsuit is just fishing for money and attention.

  • Thomas_Martinez

    6/19/2012 9:07 PM

    If I sued everyone involved with my injuries from bike riding to racing. I might be a rich or not but still a Ass-Hole. Blame the IDIOT not the APP! I'm sorry people get hurt and some DIE. That the chance we all take. Peace

  • ismack

    6/19/2012 7:39 PM

    Murderers. Strava the mass genocide continues. I added a new segment off a cliff and I'm going to get the fastest time. Ha ha some people are stupid. Personal responsibility anyone.

  • Randy_Geniec

    6/19/2012 8:01 PM

    Yeah me too...hope nobody reports my route on the Amtrak train tracks as dangerous. Would hate to lose that KOM too!

  • GnarHuck

    6/19/2012 7:31 PM

    Those damn cars will get you everytime, not strava

  • JimEG

    6/19/2012 6:16 PM

    Just got this from Strava -

    Updated terms and conditions at Strava
    We've updated our terms and conditions, and we're doing everything we can to get the word out. You'll also see a notice on your dashboard when you log in to strava.com, and we've posted to our blog as well.

    What's changed? We've grown a lot and have expanded our products and services since our terms were last updated. The updated terms clarify things related to our mobile apps, as well as real-world races and events that you might participate in that use Strava's site.

    That short description isn't meant to be a substitute for the real deal, so please take the time to read the revised terms and conditions found at strava.com/terms. If you use one of our mobile apps, please download the latest version to access the updated terms from inside the app. Then, get back out there and go for a ride or a run.

    Thanks,
    The team at Strava

    Note: You are receiving this email because you have an account with Strava. There's no option to opt-out because this is a critical account update. We send them rarely!

  • BayScraper

    6/19/2012 3:58 PM

    There's no way they should be able to win but he was living to do it for strava

  • mtbmtbmtb

    6/19/2012 3:21 PM

    hes still a human right? he doesn't have to listen to strava...

  • Scott_Townes

    6/19/2012 2:24 PM

    Hmmm... so I guess what they're saying is that their son was really a mindless goob, being controlled by an online "contest" among weekend warriors. And the prize of having his name attached to a road in his town on this site was too powerful for him to control himself which lead to him dying?

    Yeah, I can see where they're coming from. Those damned online video contests are too dangerous!

  • bturman

    6/19/2012 2:44 PM

    Oh geeze. I guess we'd better update the terms and conditions on Bar Drag Bounty entries...

  • iceman2058

    6/19/2012 10:19 PM

    Bar dragging is not only dangerous to the individual, it also causes EROSION NEXT TO THE TRAIL, completely destroying the natural habitat in the process. The practice should be banned, and Vital should be ashamed of itself to have condoned such barbaric behavior. Get on it or my lawyers will.

  • Randy_Geniec

    6/19/2012 2:23 PM

    Strava actually eliminates segments if people report they are dangerous. Pisses me off when they pull one I am KOM on...This is the reason for the decline of America. I experienced this with offroad moto and now MTB. Lawyers are the death of FUN. Keep it up STRAVA. Everyone needs to become a premium member to shake off all the frivelous lawsuits.

  • JtotheLO

    6/19/2012 2:07 PM

    At least he died doing what he loved...trying to accomplish something that means absolutely nothing.

  • ERNSTEVERYTHING.COM

    6/19/2012 1:26 PM

    Is no one responsible for their actions anymore..?
    I'm sorry a guy died, but it was his own fault riding beyond his limits.
    I lost my kidney riding DH, I didn't sue the mtn .. shit happens.. deal with it.. !

  • tomgrundy

    6/19/2012 1:05 PM

    This is Bonkerz....A grieving family going for some quick cash suing a racing aid that they know nothing about. This is bad its going to bring more attention to strava. If more people have strava there will be more people out there trying to beat my KOM's..