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4652 Views 12 Replies Latest reply: Jan 24, 2008 3:48 AM by maryt091
NHSenior Legend 387 posts since
Nov 23, 2007
Currently Being Moderated

Dec 18, 2007 5:41 PM

Legal exposure of race volunteers

Since races have either specific or implied guidelines from the USATF and the RRCA and their respective insurance companies regarding safety issues and since the majority of races seem to be caving in to emotional blackmail and not enforcing safety issues, what do you suppose YOUR own personal liability is:


Volunteers -  Have you even though about that?



1) When you volunteer at races.

2) When the race and everyone within 100 miles gets sued by a scorched earth law suit.

3) When YOU fail to enforce the published rules and some gets hurt. Were you negligent?

4) Are you an agent of the event?



Does your possible personal pro-headset stance override a potential personal financial problem if you volunteer.



Perhaps you should ask the RD then next time you are considering a volunteer assignment..



Hey Race Directors




What are YOU going to do if people stop volunteering because YOU are exposing them to liability because of your negligence, and it will be negligence when some gets hurt, and you know it 's going to happen with all the headsets that are out there now.

  • Coastwalker Legend 384 posts since
    Aug 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Dec 19, 2007 10:18 AM (in response to NHSenior)
    Re: Legal exposure of race volunteers


    Hi NHSenior,



    Most races, if not all, have liability policies that includes volunteers, as well as race officials, sponsors, beneficiaries, etc. in their coverage.



    I would venture to say that most volunteers don't think about liability issues when they sign up to work at a race - they just want to help out and to give back.



    When people start suing races, regardless of the merits of the suit, is when you will see organizations start canceling their races. If there are enough lawsuits, it will reduce the number of races we can consider running from hundreds to a handful.



    While race directors may have different opinions about the headphone issue than USATF or RRCA, no race director wants to hold an unsafe race. They are not going to expose their volunteers or their entrants to what they consider to be unsafe conditions. The issue, clearly, is that different people have different ideas of what constitutes unsafe conditions. That discussion will go on as long as there are two people left standing...






  • MrPHinNJ Amateur 139 posts since
    Oct 10, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Dec 20, 2007 5:29 AM (in response to NHSenior)
    Re: Legal exposure of race volunteers

    Good to see that the iPods have survived the migration.

  • bigapplepie Legend 2,455 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Dec 22, 2007 3:28 PM (in response to NHSenior)
    Re: Legal exposure of race volunteers

    So as a participant in New York Road Runner's races as sign this waiver:







    I know that participating in NYRR events is a potentially hazardous

    activity. I agree not to enter and participate unless I am medically

    able and properly trained. I agree to abide by any decision of an event

    official relative to my ability to safely complete the event. I am

    voluntarily entering and assume all risks associated with participating

    in the event, including, but not limited to, falls, contact with other

    participants, spectators or others, the effect of the weather,

    including heat and/or humidity, traffic and the conditions of the

    course, all such risks being known and appreciated by me. I grant to

    the Medical Director of this event and his designee access to my

    medical records and physicians, as well as other information, relating

    to medical care that may be administered to me as a result of my

    participation in this event. Having read this Waiver and knowing these

    facts, and in consideration of your acceptance of this application, I,

    for myself and anyone entitled to act on my behalf, waive and release

    New York Road Runners Club, Inc., Road Runners Club of America, USA

    Track & Field, the City of New York and its agencies and

    departments, the Metropolitan Athletics Congress, and all sponsors, and

    their representatives and successors, from present and future claims

    and liabilities of any kind, known or unknown, arising out of my

    participation in this event or related activities, even though such

    claim or liability may arise out of negligence or fault on the part of

    any of the foregoing persons or entities. I grant permission to the

    foregoing persons and entities to use or authorize others to use any

    photographs, motion pictures, recordings, or any other record of my

    participation in this event or related activities for any legitimate

    purpose without remuneration."

  • HDH Amateur 332 posts since
    Aug 19, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Jan 6, 2008 8:41 AM (in response to NHSenior)
    Re: Legal exposure of race volunteers

    I actually have to sign a waiver just as I would if I were a runner for some of the races I help at.

  • cardinalfan7 Rookie 38 posts since
    Aug 17, 2004
    Currently Being Moderated
    8. Jan 15, 2008 2:12 PM (in response to NHSenior)
    Re: Legal exposure of race volunteers


    For full disclosure, I've run two marathons, one with an Ipod and the last one(This past Sunday without). I run with one on during most if not all my training runs. My question to you is, when you're driving your car, do you have the radio on? If so, I'm curious as to how you're able to operate a car and still be aware of your surroundings and emergency vehicles. Should we outlaw car radios? Please explain.



    I've seen people fall in races before and usually it's tripping over someone in a pack or tripping over a garbage bag someone has discarded on a cold morning but I've never seen anyone trip over someone because that someone was listening to music. Should we also outlaw spectators and people playing music on the side ofthe road because those things can be a distraction as well.



  • maryt091 Pro 781 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    10. Jan 23, 2008 2:45 PM (in response to cardinalfan7)
    Re: Legal exposure of race volunteers





    Your car radio example is a good one.  There's a difference between having a radio on in your car and operating a car with headphones on.  The second case with headphones makes it a lot harder to hear, is a lot more distracting and I believe is illegal in many if not all states.  Something to think about.






    Unfortunately I have seen people wearing headphones trip others, cut them off, even saw an iPod wearer get another runner tangled up in her dangling cord. Never saw that happen with a headphone-free runner.






    I wonder about being a volunteer sometimes.  I had troubles with getting the attention of headphone wearers at an intersection where I have been volunteer  in charge of getting everyone across a street safely  to run the last section of the course against traffic.  Several times I've had headphone wearers ignore me, turn down the street instead of crossing and then try to cross later by themselves in front of oncoming cars.  We've had a couple of near misses - angry drivers and honking horns, fortunately no accidents.  But I wonder, if someone had gotten hit, would I be blamed because I was supposed to be directing them - even though they didn't pay attention and/or couldn't hear because of their headphones?   That race is no longer being run, but I don't think I would want to volunteer again if it were- not if runners in headphones or using iPods were still allowed.









  • cardinalfan7 Rookie 38 posts since
    Aug 17, 2004
    Currently Being Moderated
    11. Jan 23, 2008 3:00 PM (in response to maryt091)
    Re: Legal exposure of race volunteers


    I like how all the people who listen to their car radio are able to justify it because 'well you're not wearing headphones, therefore the music can't possibly be a distraction." Car radios and Ipods both have volume levels. It's very possible to listen to your car radio and still be able to hear emergency vehicles. It's also possible to listen to your car radio and pay attention to the cars around so as to avoid accidents. The same applies with Ipods. It's very possible to listen to an Ipod and here other runners coming by you. It's very possible to pay attention to other runners around you so as to avoid accidents.



    You mentioned races where you saw Ipod listeners cause accidents. I mentioned races where I saw non Ipod wearers cause accidents. Should we just stop having races? Should we ban spectators and roadside entertainment because they can be loud and distracting? For every reason you give to ban the Ipod I'll give other things that shouldd be banned until there are no more races. If you don't want to volunteer then don't but stop acting like Ipod listeners are the scourge of running.  



  • maryt091 Pro 781 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    12. Jan 24, 2008 3:48 AM (in response to cardinalfan7)
    Re: Legal exposure of race volunteers


    Of course it's possible to listen to an iPod at a low level, but when you see a lot more problems with runners and iPods than with runners who don't use them and you have trouble getting their attention, it does become a safety issue.  It's not possible to tell which iPod user is going to be most distracted or who has the volume omn high and who does not, but it's certainly a no-brainer to say that having your ears blocked with earbuds is going to have some limiting effect on your ability to hear and to react compared with runners who do not use them.   IPods are not necessary to running races - safety is.  If you go back to your comparison with cars, there is a difference with a radio that is in the car as background noise and having headphones on while driving.  The law in many states isn't well you can use headphones, but only if you keep them on low - it's no headphones. 






    I think you'll see a lot of complaints at first and maybe even some backtracking at some races, but overall I think you'll start seeing a lot more races enforcing a headphone/iPod ban and eventually runers will get used to racing without them.  There's a whole lot more going on in a race than there is in a training run, and many who train with iPods find once they do try a race without them, that they enjoy the whole race atmosphere more without them.






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