Forum home Mountain biking forum MTB general

insurance cover for dirt jumps

joe1778joe1778 Posts: 10
edited October 2007 in MTB general
I have a dirt jump spot in lincolnshire which i have been building and riding on my own for the last few years. Recently a number of mtb and bmx riders have started to use the jumps. I have got all the people that come to ride to sign a piece a letter saying that they wont make any claims against me in case of injury. Will this be enough or do i have to do anything else? Any information would be very helpfull.


  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 81,520 Lives Here
    are you the land owner?

    if yes i would talk to your insurace people. as it is a whole can of worms.

    lets say someone comes across the jumps and then has a go. no permission etc... you as the land owner are responsible for their safety.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • Does that mean that the owners of trail centres are responsible for the safety of people using the trails?

    What liability does a land owner have if someone injures themselves? I'd have thought it's the fault of the individual using the jump, trail or whatever...but then I know nothing about these things really. I suppose in our "blame culture" it's prudent to know where you stand.
  • I suppose its the land owners fault unless in the situation where the user of the site has signed a disclaimer saying they are responsible for their own injuries/loss of property etc. etc. Lands owners would still accept responsibility for providing a safe and usable environment, but its up to the user what they do within the facility.
  • the land owner is responsible for whatever actitivies are taking place on their land, regardless if they operate the jumps, or were not even aware that the jumps existed (for example if hidden away in some bushes) :cry:

    signing a waiver is only a first line of defence, and helps to warn people of the inherent dangers, but is somewhat worthless in the case of a serious injury which goes to court, as the waiver can be overturned by the judge, who may decide that the damages to the claimant are so serious that the case requires judicial consideration :roll:

    for most non-serious injuries a waiver, and clearly defined warning signage is sufficient to prevent people from "trying it on"....

    ... but the "no-win, no-fee" companies often try to persuade any claimaints otherwise, and anyone bringing a legal action (whether right or wrong) would immediately cost huge expenses to the landowner who would have no choice but to contest any legal action or face potential bankrupcty if the case was decided in the favour of the claimant

    to give you an idea, a recent legal action against a UK bike park was for £4.5 MILLION!!! and cost around £20K to fight in legal costs

    you need to have any waiver properly checked by a solicitor otherwise its not actually worth the paper its written on :idea:
    check out my riding - Banshee Factory Team rider, Da Kine UK Team rider,
  • My uncle owns the land but has given me part of the field to dig jumps on. Everyone who goes on the jumps have signed a form saying that they use them at their own risk. I dont think they would do anything if they hurt themselves but their parents might. From what you guys have been saying this form wouldn't be enough. What do the larger dirt jump spots which are open to the public do such as chicksands?
  • Disclaimers like that have no basis in English law, this has been proven by case law although the actually case escapes me right now.
    Basically you have a duty of care to anyone on your land.
  • There was an interview with John Ireland in Singletrack which covered the matter:
    ST: Is this because the Forestry Commission are worried about being sued for injuries on their land?

    Litigation is one aspect of it, but there’s the whole moral aspect of it. It’s part of our business, and as such we need to run it as best we can. It’s not just about worrying about the legal/civil aspect of it. You’re inviting people to your land, you have a responsibility to them. There is no such thing as ‘at your own risk’ in this country. Recreation is a growing part of the Forestry’s business.

    ST: You said there’s no such thing as ‘at your own risk’…

    No, any sign up in a car park saying ‘At your own risk’ is worthless. They need to have management systems in place to prove that you inspect stuff, it’s built to a standard, maintained to a standard and the people who inspect it are trained and that records of that are maintained.
    Any disclaimer isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.

    The full article is here:
  • This is what I hate about this country. If I throw myself over a jump, I know the risks (and that I'm probably going to end up in a heap on the other side :lol: ). I just can't understand why it has to be the fault of the landowner. As far as I'm concerned, you put yourself in the position where you might get injured, then you put up with the consequences should they arise

    Before anyone gets on their soapbox, I know there's other issues surrounding the subject. This is just my simplistic view on the matter in general.

    Stupid country, stupid laws.
  • so basically ive just got to rely on the people who are using the jumps not to take any action against me if they have an accident. The laws just seem really stupid to me.
  • bryanmbryanm Posts: 218
    joe1778 wrote:
    so basically ive just got to rely on the people who are using the jumps not to take any action against me if they have an accident. The laws just seem really stupid to me.

    ....or their next of kin when they want retribution because little johnny tried a jump he couldn't handle riding a raleigh shopper bike. The laws an censored and only fuels the stupid "where there's blame there's a claim" culture.
  • If little Johnny is stupid enough is stupid enough to try something on a shopper bike, he's probably going to end up as an entry in the Darwin Awards newsletter anyway, so who cares if he breaks himself. At least it means he can't dilute the gene pool with mong genes if he's got a broken back.
  • dirtbiker100dirtbiker100 Posts: 1,997
    "mong genes" ha quality

    so the bottom line what can a person to do cover himself/the landowner if someone stacks it?
    pay a bucket load for insurance? it seems that getting them to sign any pieces of paper is pointless?
  • do everything that is practically possible, this can include:

    full written risk assessment

    regular trail inspections and logbook of inspections

    liaise with local Health & Safety Executive (local council)

    have you solicitor write a liability waiver and have everyone sign it

    make the trails into a "private club" and make it members only, no public access

    make sure riders are 100% aware they ride at own risk

    lots of warning signs on the trails, and at the entrance to the trails

    install a trail grading system for XC or FR trails, or even DJs (i.e. expert line)

    install safety padding on trees next to trails to reduce impact risks

    "clear fall zones" next to the trails (i.e. no sharp branches or rocks)

    woodchip the fall zones whenever possible

    take out specific liability insurance

    have a good soliciior ready for any legal claims

    encourage / make it mandatory for all riders to take out their own accident insurance

    all riders to wear minimum safety equipment (at Esher Shore its helmet, gloves and knee/shin guards)

    the problem is that once someone becomes seriously injured, for example a spinal injury, any good intentions such as "I'd never sue if I fell off and hurt myself" go straight out the window and the next thing that happens is a letter from their solicitors :roll:

    it happened at Esher Shore, and took 3 years to fight the claim, cost £20K in solicitors fees and closed the bike park for nearly a year, we nearly gave up :shock:
    Call 01372 476 969 for more information on UK\'s leading freeride park - Esher Shore
  • dirtbiker100dirtbiker100 Posts: 1,997
    Cripes thats a comprehensive list thanks.
Sign In or Register to comment.