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
  • Iggz

    6/19/2012 1:02 PM

    Hahahahah - Condolences first of all but god damn their stupidity hurts my brain

  • Harvolev

    6/19/2012 12:57 PM

    If I was driving above the speed limit and crashed could I sue the car company for making a car that encourages me go above the posted speed limit? No, the fact is that I would have been breaking the law and I'm old enough to be aware that it's not safe to be speeding down the hill for some bragging rights against friends.
    IF my friend said "I can go down this hill faster than you" and I proceeded to try and prove him wrong, can I sue him for believing that he was faster than me and me being too caught up in pride to resist the urge to go TOO FAST on a dangerous road? NOPE
    I do agree that the guys who set up the segment chose a bad section of road to run as a segment. But you have to know the road to even be aware that you are on the segment of road, as such you know it's a dangerous road and as an adult are fully capable of making a conscious decision of breaking the law and riding beyond your limits.
    QED

  • guerilladownhilla

    6/19/2012 12:39 PM

    let me get this straight:
    man speeds on bike and breaks law
    man hits car and dies due to rider error
    family sues dork logger site because they were negligent?

    WOW, can i have my last 5 minutes back?

  • dustingilding

    6/19/2012 9:05 PM

    this guy

  • Garret_Hammack

    6/19/2012 12:29 PM

    I have a feeling this is not what Kim Flint would want but just a grab for money from a bunch of desperate people.

  • neimbc

    6/19/2012 12:17 PM

    Wow! it's called racing - Shameful on the family's part. This lawer who took the case is an ambulance chaser for sure. Hmm, car commercials always show them speeding off 0 to 60 in under 4 seconds - maybe every kid who crashed because they were speeding has a law suit. Beyond comprehension.

  • iceman2058

    6/19/2012 12:09 PM

    Seriously, a good chunk of the US legal system needs to be completely re-done. The airhead lawyer reassures me to some degree, she comes across completely stupid (and obviously out of touch with reality...CONES...yeah, really?)...but worryingly, she apparently has been taken seriously enough for the stupid suit to be filed in the first place.

    For sure it's a sad thing when somebody dies or is injured, but this business of looking for who's to blame when people do stuff that puts their lives at risk is really taking it too far. Reeks of greed, no two ways about it.

  • divisadero

    6/19/2012 12:29 PM

    Re-doing the American legal system because some folks use it (or rather try to use it) to do stupid things is a little like suing Strava because some folks use it to do stupid things. Just because a suit is **filed** doesn't mean the legal system doesn't work. I'd reserve judgment for when the plaintiff secures a judgment, which will likely be never.

  • iceman2058

    6/19/2012 10:15 PM

    In many other countries, such "lawsuits" don't get any airtime at all - hence, they don't really enter into the equation in the first place. That's my point - in the US, people wave lawsuits around for nothing, and then the lawyers run the show. There should be heavy fines AGAINST people who are found to have filed abusive lawsuits.

    Just look at our own sport - someone builds a stunt, somebody else jumps it and fails, just because he/she wasn't good enough to pull it off, or just because that day, something went wrong. Now that person can sue the builder for having built something that hurt him/her. Just the very idea goes completely AGAINST the notion of personal freedom that is so dear to people in the US. Freedom to build a stunt, and freedom to choose whether I jump it or not. Thats's the only kind of freedom. With great power comes great responsibility - you want the power to choose for yourself, that's great, but with that comes the responsibility for your actions. If you take away accountability for ones own actions, you've also taken away that freedom - because now, you've turned over the power to choose to other people. Lawyers will eventually choose the stunts that should be made available for you to ride. They will decide whether or not that monster roller is safe, or whether they should drop a couple of cinderblocks on it to make sure nobody can enjoy it again, ever. They will make every double a table, and ladder drops will only be allowed to be 3ft tall.

  • divisadero

    6/20/2012 12:28 PM

    I don't disagree with many of your comments about personal responsibility and what not. I think it's a stupid lawsuit. But I'm hesitant to draw broad conclusions on the basis of that someone simply **filed** a stupid suit. I could wipe my ass with my 1080Ez form and try to file it as my tax return, but that doesn't mean the IRS doesn't work. And whose to say Strava won't get attorney's fees because the case is frivolous?

    On the broader issue of US tort law, the alternative to a vigorous tort system is generally more government regulation. So, while a lot of countries may not see as many silly tort claims as we do (you'd be surprised though), they regulate the shit out of things. I'm not saying one system is better than the other, but it's not a simple question either.

  • iceman2058

    6/21/2012 12:03 AM

    Not to harp on here, because I think we broadly agree on the issues at hand...just to point out that I have lived in many countries (the US, Sweden, Ireland, France, Israel), and my observation is that the regulations are nowhere even near as stringent anywhere as they are in the US. The US has its "vigorous" tort system which has helped CREATE a lot of regulation (out of fear). In many places in Europe (and even the Middle East you'd perhaps be surprised to know), there is sort of a common sense filter applied way before things end up with the lawyers and courts. I've never been made to sign a 10-page disclaimer when buying a snowboard in France, for example. And when things DO go to court, they mostly end up with $3000 awards, after 3 years of red tape hell. There are no high profile jury cases with thousands (millions?) at the end.

  • 970biking

    6/19/2012 12:41 PM


  • 970biking

    6/19/2012 11:51 AM

    A sad story for sure and my condolences to anyone who knew Kim... but seriously how did this lawsuit even get this far?! I have things that 'encourage me to speed' like 'Wolf Mother' and 'Pabst'. I'm totally suing them after I get too stoked one afternoon and crash.

  • idrinkpabst

    6/19/2012 11:21 AM

    Can't wait get my KOM on later tonight. If I die... please..... nobody sue Strava!

  • Beezkneez

    6/19/2012 11:17 AM

    Pure greed. The family should be ashamed for pursuing this lawsuit. However, when you take into account the exorbitant medical, burial and memorial service costs in this country, they mine as well have robbed a bank or two to cover expenses.

  • sidwv

    6/19/2012 11:11 AM

    only in america.

  • steve c

    6/19/2012 11:10 AM

    This has prompted me to register, not a bad thing.....
    WTF is happening in this world ??? perhaps we should sue watchmakers or tripmeter makers on the premise that we compared times... Aghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

  • Dlongb13

    6/19/2012 10:49 AM

    This is insanity.

  • cmontjumper

    6/19/2012 10:48 AM

    typical san francisco. it is in no way Strava's fault and i dont believe the Flint family will win. I hope not

  • syngltrkmnd

    6/19/2012 10:28 AM

    Frivolous lawsuit. Move on, America.

  • @mattyswenson

    6/19/2012 10:24 AM

    This is soooooo stupid! Strava doesn't "create races" so why would they put cones out? These people don't even have a clue what Strava is and in the end it's left up to the rider to not act like an idiot. Did anyone try to sue Porsche when Ryan Dunn died because they made the car too fast?

  • meastman1

    6/19/2012 10:22 AM

    If strava is to blame, then anything competitive should be illegal? I think strava is great motivation to push harder on rides, but you also need to know your own skill level and limits. Sounds like rider error to me

  • Morpheous

    6/19/2012 10:21 AM

    Rider error plain and simple. This is not a legitimate lawsuit. Kim would be embarrassed as competitive people have the integrity of risk awareness/mitigation and responsibility for their own actions. It was his choice to approach this personal challenge.

  • toddonbike

    6/19/2012 10:46 AM

    "Kim would be embarrassed as competitive people have the integrity of risk awareness/mitigation and responsibility for their own actions." Well put. We know the potential consequences and take the risks for our own satisfaction.

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