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.
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...
You guys over on the coast put on some very well managed events. Pretty savvy in the promotion department too.
I agree that few if any RDs want to put on unsafe events but one only has to stand at critical and confusing conner at a race announcing which way to go to know that the headphone users are full of **** when they say 1) they can hear well enough and 2) even more important, that they are fully conscious of where they are on the planet when they are bopping along with even their eyes closed sometimes.
The issue with liability insurance, is that as an RD, it would be tough to (effectively) claim that one did not know that the massive number of headsets at races is less than safe and that the governing race bodies and the insurance companies have recommend (at a minimum) that headsets not be allowed. The issue for what is negligence is that being responsible is often tough to define but negligence and irresponsibility is pretty easy to see after someone gets hurt.
RDs as a class have very little backbone on this issue right now because emotional blackmail has them living in fear. That will change overnight when the eventual happens. Insurance policies can go away if the policy holder does not live up to items in the policy. Standard language in many things say that the act of ignoring something is not binding a subsequent occurrence.
Ultimately not being held liable doesn't get you your defense money back in a state where the looser doesn't have to pay the court costs of the winner. If a car swerves to avoid a headset user and plows into a dozen runners, the limits of most of the race coverage will be exceeded instantly, then the plaintiff will look around to all those involved personally.
I've had a personal umbrella liability policy for over 30 years and thank goodness I had it when some rich SOBs son got hit with a bat in baseball game and the guy had enough money and lawyer friends to make the lives of a ton of innocent people miserable.
Not enforcing the safety rules is nuts. Letting the inmates (the runners) run the asylum is also nuts and it demeans those in charge of things.
So as a participant in New York Road Runner's races as sign this waiver:
"WAIVER OF LIABILITY:
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."
Thanks for the details of the waiver. I'm not sure what you point is relative to my post
Do you believe because of the waiver, the event is off the hook with:
2) a participant 3rd party
What about a row of spectators standing beside a road where a car swerves to avoid something caused by a headset users. The reason the headset is spotlighted in my question is that those not so cause oriented by wanting to wear headphones can physically "SEE" the headphones and most reasonable people know they are distracting to the user no matter where they are and what they are doing. The idea that because one is a runner, their body and brain somehow works different than other people is dumb, yet that is the essense of most of the pro headphone user's posts.
Runners without headphone won't cause the same level of "radar" screens to start pinging when the $hit hits the fan. What could anyone connected with race sign that would keep the race entity out of trouble when that happens.
<<<<I actually have to sign a waiver just as I would if I were a runner for some of the races I help at.
Yes, I"m aware that a "wisely" managed event headed by folks who think about what they are getting themselves into will ask for volunteers to sign a waiver.
I wonder why they would do that, ask for the waiver I mean?
As a volunteer I'd start to have bells going off in my head that are saying "Why are they asking me to sign something?"
I'm not trying to discourage volunteering.
I'm specifically trying to make this headset problem be as nasty as possible as soon as possible. Also, most everyone who can do something about it has gotten out their 10 foot pole and basically it means that backbone is short supply.
If headsets were safe, prominent RDs would be saying so big time and most of their comments are "we are going to wait and see where this is going." Backbone issues for sure.
RDs will get off their butt 100 times faster to do something if they think the volunteers will go away than some "It's all about ME" runners.
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.
Outlawing things you can't identify ahead of time and act against is what the politician suck the public into supporting. Race managers have to use their resources to work on what can be identified and stopped.
Now as to your car radio reference. You are mentioning that for one of two reasons.
1) you know it is distracting but are pointing out the world ignores it. Pointing to the kid next door who did something wrong when you were a kid didn't fly with your parent and it won't fly here. Do you mean that not enforcing other thngs elsewhere is a good reason to not enforce other things anywhere, or perhaps you have another reasonable explanation for your bringing it up.
2) you think the radio is a distraction I would agree that it is a distraction to the extent that you have to take your eye off the road to fiddle with it. And while listening to the car radio is somewhat distracting it is not a exclusionary as something right on and in your head.
3) there is a remote 3rd reason which many ipoders try to give and that is that there is no such thing as a distraction that would distract them. They are special.
<<<<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.
Tell me before I answer further. How much as a percentage of the space and people in a race do you get to see as you move with your little portion of the race down the course.
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.
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.
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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