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Judge rules family of William 'Kim' Flint can't sue app maker for encouraging dangerous behavior...

A judge in San Francisco has dismissed a lawsuit against Strava brought by the family of William ‘Kim’ Flint, killed when he collided with a car on a downhill stretch of road while apparently trying to reclaim his King of the Mountain (KOM) status on the social networking and ride-tracking site.

Judge Marla Miller said: “Mr. Flint assumed the risks of bicycling and that the defendant [Strava] has shown that bicycling is an inherent risky activity,” reports Bicycle Retailer.

Flint’s parents had claimed that the 41-year-old was using Strava at the time and that Strava’s app encourages dangerous behaviour and fails to warn users vying for KOM status that the road conditions are unsuitable for racing.

Strava had denied all liability, and in a statement issued yesterday, company spokesman Mark Riedy said: “The death of Kim Flint was a tragic accident and we reiterate our sincere condolences to the family.

“We are extremely gratified by the judge's ruling, which demonstrates there was no case against the company.

“Every cyclist is responsible for their own safety and the safety of those around them.

“We ask all athletes to exercise common sense when they are running and riding and to encourage good behaviour within the community."

Strava had maintained that when Flint became a member of the site on 7 October 2009, the terms and conditions he agreed to electronically included a clause absolving Strava from liability for claims arising from a member’s use of the site.

While many Strava users log their rides to gauge their own personal progress against their training goals, it’s the competitive element introduced by the KOM leader boards that has seen the company attract criticism.

Sustrans has highlighted use of Strava and similar apps as encouraging some cyclists to ride at excessive speed on shared use facilities such as the Bristol-Bath railway path and on routes through Bristol’s Ashton Court and has warned some cyclists that they need to slow down.

Earlier this week, we reported that riders so inclined can now even artificially enhance their Strava data by giving their data an artificial boost with the help of the website DigitalEPO.com.

 

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.