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  1. #1
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    Default Trail Liability?

    Interesting question for the forum. My son has got quite into MTB which I celebrate as I have cycled most of my life, but much less so while the boys were growing up.

    Anyway, we went to a trail called Iron Throne this weekend in Hartebeesport for the first time. It was quite novel as you take a cable car ride up and then coming bombing down the trail. I knew this would be quite an advanced trail and was thus doing it quite cautiously.

    Anyway, on my second run down I found my self with a piece of barbed wire down my mouth which literally brought me from 20-30km/hr to zero in about no time flat. I was lucky to have been wearing some riding glasses or I would have lost my eye for sure, and if it had been a bit lower down I would have died at the scene for sure as my jugular would have been ripped out.

    So in essence the trail had a piece of barbed wire running across the trail at head height (at least my head height.) Presently I am told that I look like Freddy Kruger and have about 50 stiches all over my eyes and face and am missing quite a bit of flesh in the area around my eye that was ripped by the barbed wire. The plastic surgeon seems to think that it will all pan out and I was probably due for face lift anyway.

    My wife has since spoken to the trail owner who said, oh yes we know about that, and it is part of a gate to keep the animals separate at night or something to that effect.

    I have a few issues.
    This trail was paid for, not just some ramps someone had built in a park. So that would imply some degree of maintenance/liability. I cannot fathom how anyone with a modicum of intellectual ability would consider having a line of barbed wire across a trail at head height in any way acceptable for a trail that they are charging an entry fee to.

    I am quite lucky in that I did not loose an eye or die at the scene, and frankly I am okay with the medical bills which should start rolling in shortly. I am not okay however, with this trail operating in this way, and they don't seem to think they have done much wrong, meaning other people will probably face the same issue. Any suggestions on how to take this forward? I am quite happy to sue, but I don't really want money, I just want them to ensure that this never happens to anyone else.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Trail Liability?

    Geesh that does not sound acceptable.

    I hope you recover well.
    Christa
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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Trail Liability?

    Sorry to hear Stephen, heal up soon!

    What about posting a warning re this situation on Bikehub as well?

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Trail Liability?

    Did you have to sign an indemnity form?

    If so they will probably depend on that, to avoid liability.
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  6. #5
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    Default Re: Trail Liability?

    Wow, just happy you are Ok. Kudu's on your spirit!

    But it seems to me there was some negligence in play here.
    Johan Swanepoel

    "Nkabe ke ngwana wa morago"

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Trail Liability?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fabfender View Post
    Did you have to sign an indemnity form?

    If so they will probably depend on that, to avoid liability.
    Indemnity forms mean nothing if there is negligence.

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  9. #7
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    Default Re: Trail Liability?

    Quote Originally Posted by SAND View Post
    Indemnity forms mean nothing if there is negligence.
    THIS!!!!!!

    No indemnity or disclaimer can protect someone if it is pure negligence. I would seriously consider taking legal action.

  10. #8
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    Default Re: Trail Liability?

    Is the trail anyway part of the people that run the cable carts ? if so they are sure to have public liability insurance.

    This accident was not your fault and you should be compensated for you pain and suffering. I would consult a lawyer.


    Mr. Karol Joszkowski
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  12. #9
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    Default Re: Trail Liability?

    Hi Guys, Many thanks for the replies. I have joined and posted on bike hub as suggested. I have briefed my lawyer, and he advised that we wait and see how the surgeries pan out before moving forward.

    My main concern is that this does not occur to anyone else in the meantime.

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  14. #10
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    Default Re: Trail Liability?

    Wow, that is hectic! Was the wire actually across one of the trails? Or did you venture slightly off it? Because surely if it is across a track then everyone will go into it? But you also said this only happened on your 2nd run...

    I once nearly drove into wire like this on a motorbike. Was racing my cousin and didn't see the 2 strands from an old fence, until the last moment. I hit the brakes and ate dirt rather than go through the wires
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  15. #11
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    Default Re: Trail Liability?

    Sorry to hear about this.

    How did you miss it the 1st run?

    What changed that you struck the wire? Maybe riding a bit of course?
    Always think: Could this be sarcasm?

    André Opperman

  16. #12
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    Default Re: Trail Liability?

    Just had a call from Charl who runs the trail in question. He was very apologetic and told me that he went up to see what had happened. Apparently the wire I hit, is normally very high up, to the extent that you could not touch it if you jumped, however when he was there, he saw that a tree had fallen on it, and that is what caused the damage.

    To be honest I don't know how my son and the other rider with us managed to miss it? Presumably it was also there the first time, but I really cant say as I don't recall, and it would be strange to have it fall during the day as the weather was not adverse. I did not go off the trail as I was pretty focused on staying on it so I am sure that was not the case either.

    Anyway he has assured me that he will make sure that nothing like this ever happens again, and they are going to fence some other area to keep the animals out so he can permanently remove this fence that they erect every night. I am very lucky to be in a position to absorb the medical bills, so I wont take things any further with my lawyer as I really don't want to impact a business that enables a hobby I very much enjoy. Aparently Charl also did Wolverspruit which I very much like and I think grootfontein, so he can't be all bad.

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  18. #13
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    Default Re: Trail Liability?

    Happy to hear you have spoken to the trail owner and there are no hard feelings. Maybe ask him for a lifetime pass, as a goodwill gesture

    Seems there was some wind over the weekend, so it could tie up with the theory that a branch fell onto the wire which dropped it down to eye-level. We had a palm frond fall down from the wind over the weekend, so seems plausible. The fact that it happened on your 2nd pass lets me think something had to have happened to the wire to displace it from the original position.

    There is a sinister option too, where [email protected] kids could have thought to pull it down to knock someone off as a funny prank, but didn't realize the life threatening danger it could present at throat level. Sincerely hope this isn't the case here.


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  19. #14
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    Default Re: Trail Liability?

    Well the only upside to MTB vs Motorcycling was the lack of need for a full faced helmet, now that's out the window I figure I'll stick to the powered stuff

    Really glad you are okay and the damage seems to only be cosmetic.
    Last edited by Spectaitor; 2022/01/26 at 02:57 PM.

  20. #15
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    Default Re: Trail Liability?

    Quote Originally Posted by stephenplumb View Post
    Just had a call from Charl who runs the trail in question. He was very apologetic and told me that he went up to see what had happened. Apparently the wire I hit, is normally very high up, to the extent that you could not touch it if you jumped, however when he was there, he saw that a tree had fallen on it, and that is what caused the damage.

    To be honest I don't know how my son and the other rider with us managed to miss it? Presumably it was also there the first time, but I really cant say as I don't recall, and it would be strange to have it fall during the day as the weather was not adverse. I did not go off the trail as I was pretty focused on staying on it so I am sure that was not the case either.

    Anyway he has assured me that he will make sure that nothing like this ever happens again, and they are going to fence some other area to keep the animals out so he can permanently remove this fence that they erect every night. I am very lucky to be in a position to absorb the medical bills, so I wont take things any further with my lawyer as I really don't want to impact a business that enables a hobby I very much enjoy. Aparently Charl also did Wolverspruit which I very much like and I think grootfontein, so he can't be all bad.
    Having ridden the trail I was rather perplexed as to where the barbed wire was, now it makes more sense. Also not acceptable that there's not regular inspection of a paid for trail, Charl is actually quite talented enduro rider so he should know better. Anyway kudos to you and your son Iron Throne is seriously technical trail even if you take the chicken runs where presented.

  21. #16
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    Default Re: Trail Liability?

    Hope you get your face back together soonest with minimal pain and no scars. That was a seriously rough experience.
    The owners response is at least reassuring and comforting: it seemed almost impossible to imagine that there would be a head high barbed wire running across a trail but the explanation does seem sound. I would be worried about a fatal neck injury to be honest in that scenario.

  22. #17
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    Default Re: Trail Liability?

    I'm not going to comment on the liability side of this. No dog in the race, so to speak.

    Reading about barbed wire to the face like that had me twisting in my seat. Hope you heal fast and healthy.
    Last edited by Chopped; 2022/01/27 at 11:42 AM.

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  24. #18
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    Default Re: Trail Liability?

    Damn that is hectic to endure, Glad you are okay Stephen.

    Many factors to consider and investigate.
    Liability etc..
    RechardT

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  25. #19
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    Default Re: Trail Liability?

    I have not bothered posting pics of my ugly mug, which is no oil painting at the best of times, and in the interests of keepings everyones food where it belongs.

    Suffice it to say that it is not pretty at this point, but still a massive improvement on what it was following the incident. Even so those that see me now generally get a bit slack jawed before they regain their composure and utter some expletives.

    I remain amazed at the ability of medical types to deal with this sort of stomach turning gore. I was chatting to a young Dr Snyman while she was patching me up in sunninghill, and she said it does not bother her a jot, and she finds it quite therapeutic getting her needle and thread out. She was busy on me for quite a good few hours.

    I was asking the plastic surgeon about this and he fully agreed. He said that there was nothing better that getting stuck into a messed up face and sticking away all day. Luckily we are all very different, because I did not want to see anything they were up to, and really don't deal well with this sort of thing.

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  27. #20
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    Default Re: Trail Liability?

    Quote Originally Posted by stephenplumb View Post
    I have not bothered posting pics of my ugly mug, which is no oil painting at the best of times, and in the interests of keepings everyones food where it belongs.

    Suffice it to say that it is not pretty at this point, but still a massive improvement on what it was following the incident. Even so those that see me now generally get a bit slack jawed before they regain their composure and utter some expletives.

    I remain amazed at the ability of medical types to deal with this sort of stomach turning gore. I was chatting to a young Dr Snyman while she was patching me up in sunninghill, and she said it does not bother her a jot, and she finds it quite therapeutic getting her needle and thread out. She was busy on me for quite a good few hours.

    I was asking the plastic surgeon about this and he fully agreed. He said that there was nothing better that getting stuck into a messed up face and sticking away all day. Luckily we are all very different, because I did not want to see anything they were up to, and really don't deal well with this sort of thing.
    Seems like you are on good hands heal up quick and always remember chicks dig scars

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