Home
William Flint trying to retain KOM title when he crashed into a car

The family of an American man who died trying to beat his speed record are suing Strava for encouraging him to speed.

William ‘Kim’ Flint, from Oakland, had just lost his Strava ‘King of the Mountains’ title on a local downhill stretch when he crashed into a car nearly two years ago, apparently trying to keep his record.

A lawsuit was filed in San Francisco on Monday by his family against the San Francisco-based Strava -- a website that hosts virtual races and rewards winners who use a GPS system to track their own time on short stretches of road against competitors.

"His family basically wants justice for him," Susan Kang, the Flint family's attorney told abc news.

Flint’s speed in Grizzly Peak was at least 10 miles above the posted speed limit of 30 mph. He had learned via Strava that another cyclist had clocked a better time. He was fatally injured when he suddenly braked to avoid a car and his bike flipped over.

The lawsuit accuses Strava of negligence.

"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," said Kang. She added that if Strava knows a segment is dangerous, it should be removed from the site.

Strava spokesman Mark Riedy 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."

According to prosecutors, the man who killed a pensioner in San Francisco and could now face up to six years in jail was also tracking his speed using Strava.

 

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

61 comments

Avatar
Spangly Shiny [112 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Darwinism also applies to cyclists.

Avatar
drheaton [3318 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Only in America.

Avatar
cchead77 [7 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

With all due respect, this is a joke.

Why not sue the bike manufacture for making a bike that goes fast? or the bike shop that sold him the bike because surely without the bike he wouldn't have been tempted to get KOM.  13

Avatar
JonMack [167 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Woah woah woah. Strava only creates segments on climbs, this downhill segment was created by a user, how is it anything to do with Strava, other than the fact that it was on their website. Also, does Kang have any idea how many segments there are on Strava? They're a small company who run a web app, not a multi billion dollar organisation who could afford to send teams out checking segments and "putting cones out". What a f**king moron. As "Manglier" said, it's Darwinism.

Avatar
solentine [95 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

It's not really Darwinism, it's familial greed and seeing a fast buck! Just like PPI and personal injury companies here!

Avatar
benb [79 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Trying to get KoM does not mean you should ignore basic safe riding. I hate the ridiculous litigation culture.

Avatar
boardmanrider [88 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

This is what scares me the most about America. You live in the real possibility that you can be sued for practically anything. What utter nonsense: I feel sympathy for the family who lost their loved one but to sue Strava?? Surely it would better to sue the bloke driving the car?

Avatar
HaloJ [22 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

One of the things that Strava promotes is the removal of "dangerous" segments. A dangerous segment could be construed as one where the pace achievable exceeds that of the roads designation thus having that segment removed for public "competing" and making it Personal Best only.

Avatar
ALIHISGREAT [119 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

They will probably get something unless strava have a good disclaimer/notice reminding users to ride safely and not break the law

Avatar
notfastenough [3673 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

While I sympathise with the deceased and the families, there is no substitute for personal responsibility. Only you can make a decision as to the safety of a particular road/speed etc on a given day.

I would also be interested to know the details of this incident, because I don't know my Strava results until I press the 'finish ride' button, which I don't do until I get home, so Strava can't be held accountable for my speed in a real-time sense.

Avatar
Chuck [534 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

"His family basically wants justice for him,"

Don't see what this has to do with justice. Very sad story though.

Avatar
ridesabikefastorslow [3 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

I have a strava segment I am trying to get KOM on, it has a set of traffic lights in the middle. Sometimes I get caught by the lights, sometimes I am lucky I get through. The nights I get through I go for it the nights I don't I give up the attempt. If I jumped the lights and got killed it would be my own stupidity to blame. People get killed that's terribly unfortunate stop trying to blame someone else.

Avatar
drheaton [3318 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
cchead77 wrote:

With all due respect, this is a joke.

Why not sue the bike manufacture for making a bike that goes fast? or the bike shop that sold him the bike because surely without the bike he wouldn't have been tempted to get KOM.  13

I'd try suing God for creating the hills in the first place. Surely the fact that the hill exists is God's fault and I bet he doesn't put disclaimers on them all...

Avatar
cidermart [488 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

I wonder why they don't try and sue the police for not having a speed trap there that day or the local council for building such a fast stretch of road or for that matter, as it is america, some celestial deity for making the place so hilly. Sad that he died but the family are vermin trying to make a buck. Shame on them.

Avatar
cidermart [488 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Damn you drheaton you beat me to it;)

Avatar
LondonCalling [149 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Only in America!! Why not sue the bike manufacturers??? Ridiculous!!

Watch out Endomondo!!

Avatar
Alb [127 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Ditto - Only in America

Avatar
Marky Legs [124 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

It's very sad that a cyclist loses their life doing something they obviously loved doing. However, cycling safely must be in the hands of the cyclist.

Similarly, if you go hang gliding, and end up in difficulties because you don't know your limits, is that the fault of the hang glider manufacturer?

I have a segment that runs up to a roundabout. If that roundabout is too busy, a judgement made by me not Strava, then I save my energy for another day. If it takes several days or weeks before I can safely attempt the segment so be it. My life is more important than a segment.

Avatar
sporran [42 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Ridiculous. Sad for the death of the cyclist and their family, but smacks of people trying to make some easy money, ruining everyone else's enjoyment.

Blaming Strava for this has no more merit than suing Casio because I got run over while trying to beat my PB using my stopwatch.

Avatar
lushmiester [182 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Like every other person here I feel for the family and friends of Mr Flint, who have lost a loved one.

However, their contention that Strava bares responsibility for his death appears to disregard the fact that Mr Flint was a moral agent. He not Strava made the decision to to exceed the speed limit on this hill. Assuming he had full command of his mental faculties he would be aware of both his abilities, the risks he was taking, the possible consequences of his decision and actions.

Strava are no more to blame than say helmet manufacturers are for the Risk Compensation behaviors of cyclists who choose to use their products.

Avatar
John Stevenson [250 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Strava is encouraging people to race bicycles unsupervised on on open roads. Every jurisdiction on earth has laws in place to control racing precisely because it can be dangerous.

Strava's not wholly or even largely responsible for this guy's death in my opinion, but I can see how a court might well decide that they bear *some* responsibility, especially as it would be pretty easy for them to prevent users from creating downhill segments.

Avatar
BigDummy [314 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Strava is encouraging individual time-trialling, something that usually happens on open roads anyway, certainly in the UK.

Avatar
drheaton [3318 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
John Stevenson wrote:

Strava is encouraging people to race bicycles unsupervised on on open roads. Every jurisdiction on earth has laws in place to control racing precisely because it can be dangerous.

Strava's not wholly or even largely responsible for this guy's death in my opinion, but I can see how a court might well decide that they bear *some* responsibility, especially as it would be pretty easy for them to prevent users from creating downhill segments.

Sorry, but that's total crap. Strava provides a service which allows you to record your time over a specific route or section of a route and then compare it against other people riding the same route. It is entirely the riders choice to try and better their time or try and beat other times on the same route.

If I were to post on the road.cc forum my time for a section of road and some numpty went and got themselves killed trying to beat it is road.cc at fault? No, it is the fool ignoring the rules of the road.

I seriously hope nothing comes of this. It's tragic that this guy has died, but it's also tragic that his family are just looking around for someone to blame (or even try and cash in on this) and have plumped for a service provider like Strava.

Avatar
John Stevenson [250 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

BigDummy - yep, and time trials have marshals, and police notifications etc etc.

Anyone who has ever been involved in racing knows that racers do dumb things in the heat of competition.

drheaton - are you aware that Stava sends you an email if someone beats your time on a segment?

Avatar
step-hent [720 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

This is very unlikely to succeed if it gets to court, even in the US. Even if Strava were found negligent in not warning people to take care on the roads (which wouldnt be the case in the UK, but might be in the US), there wouldnt be any causation because Mr Flint's own actions intervened.

Might end up with a settlement though, which is probably what they are going for (and hence the publicity). If you are sued in the US courts, you have to pay your own costs, even if you win. That's one of the reasons they have such a culture of litigation - there's much less to lose in suing someone if you'll never have to pay their costs.

I wonder if strava has any fans in the US legal profession who'd be prepared to donate some time to help out with the defence? I seriously doubt the claimants would pursue it if they thought they'd end up in court...

Avatar
drheaton [3318 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
John Stevenson wrote:

drheaton - are you aware that Stava sends you an email if someone beats your time on a segment?

Yes, I am, but it's your own choice to go out and try and beat their time and it's not as if the emails says:

Quote:

Hey, someones beaten your time, if you go over the speed limit, cut some corners and possibly break a few more road traffic laws you can get that title back again! We at Strava actively encourage you to break laws and laugh in the face of danger just so you can hold some pointless title that someone fitter and younger will take back again before the end of the week

Once again, it's the riders own stupidity that's at fault, not the system.

Avatar
step-hent [720 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
John Stevenson wrote:

BigDummy - yep, and time trials have marshals, and police notifications etc etc.

Anyone who has ever been involved in racing knows that racers do dumb things in the heat of competition.

drheaton - are you aware that Stava sends you an email if someone beats your time on a segment?

Racers also sign disclaimers accepting responsibility for their own safety. As do Strava users, it seems:

Strava Terms of Use wrote:

YOU EXPRESSLY AGREE THAT YOUR ATHLETIC ACTIVITIES, WHICH GENERATE THE CONTENT YOU POST OR SEEK TO POST ON THE SITE (INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO CYCLING) CARRY CERTAIN INHERENT AND SIGNIFICANT RISKS OF PROPERTY DAMAGE, BODILY INJURY OR DEATH AND THAT YOU VOLUNTARILY ASSUME ALL KNOWN AND UNKNOWN RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH THESE ACTIVITIES EVEN IF CAUSED IN WHOLE OR PART BY THE ACTION, INACTION OR NEGLIGENCE OF STRAVA OR BY THE ACTION, INACTION OR NEGLIGENCE OF OTHERS. YOU ALSO EXPRESSLY AGREE THAT STRAVA DOES NOT ASSUME RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE INSPECTION, SUPERVISION, PREPARATION, OR CONDUCT OF ANY RACE, CONTEST, GROUP RIDE OR EVENT THAT UTILIZES STRAVA’S SITE.

I wonder how long that wording has been up there? Incidentally, I dont think the US has the same restriction on excluding liability for death or personal injury caused by negligence (that wording would be unenforceable in the UK).

Avatar
STATO [497 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
John Stevenson wrote:

BigDummy - yep, and time trials have marshals, and police notifications etc etc.

Anyone who has ever been involved in racing knows that racers do dumb things in the heat of competition.

drheaton - are you aware that Stava sends you an email if someone beats your time on a segment?

A TT local to me are not allowed to put out signs out due to some bylaw, same applied for the national TT a few weeks ago I believe?. In our case the police have taken some interest... by suggesting riders run rear lights, they certainally dont stand there and watch. So essentially, its exactly the same as timing a ride by Strava.

Avatar
Matt_S [240 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
step-hent wrote:

I wonder how long that wording has been up there?

Since yesterday, apparently.

Avatar
andyp [1444 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

'I'd try suing God for creating the hills in the first place. Surely the fact that the hill exists is God's fault and I bet he doesn't put disclaimers on them all...'

God doesn't exist, Strava does. Simple.

Pages