Yet Another Cycling Forum

General Category => Audax => Topic started by: LittleWheelsandBig on December 04, 2019, 12:42:06 am

Title: RUSA insurance issues
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on December 04, 2019, 12:42:06 am
Randonneurs USA have had some difficulty arranging insurance recently (and their calendar had to be suspended) after a rider’s family claimed against the policy. It seems that RUSA have now secured insurance for their 2019/ 2020 calendar and those brevets are up and running.

Unfortunately RUSA permanents are not included within that policy and are now unavailable to be ridden. Apparently, locally homologated brevets can be added to RUSA’s calendar at fairly short notice, so group perms may transmogrify into calendar brevets but individual RUSA perms are probably not going to happen. I suspect K-hounds (roughly equivalent to 100 AUK points but including 100s) and R-12s (RRtY analogue) are going to be rarer in 2020.

https://rusa.org/node/477 and
https://rusa.org/announcement/perms-program-temporarily-suspended
Title: Re: RUSA insurance issues
Post by: CrazyEnglishTriathlete on December 04, 2019, 04:28:18 am
That's a real shame.  It might explain why I didn't get a response when I investigated riding a permanent in Austin Texas last year.  I've found plotting routes in the US quite difficult (especially to avoid roads that suddenly turn into major highways) so a perm was a good way of getting a well-thought-out ride.
Title: Re: RUSA insurance issues
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on December 04, 2019, 08:00:19 am
There might be a different reason for that CET, given the timings. RUSA perms are only for RUSA members, I believe, but the Texans generally aren’t backwards in recruiting foreign members. I suspect that something got lost in the aether somewhere.
Title: Re: RUSA insurance issues
Post by: Manotea on December 04, 2019, 08:47:55 am
Of course, for AUKs, validation of DIY perms ridden overseas is an option.

Should we expect an influx of R10k hunting refugees from across the pond? :)
Title: Re: RUSA insurance issues
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on December 04, 2019, 08:57:52 am
For RUSA awards, only RUSA rides count, as a rule.
Title: Re: RUSA insurance issues
Post by: Manotea on December 04, 2019, 02:38:12 pm
Hence my comment about R10k refugees.

But really, this is simplest fixed with a rule change; there is little reason for the central organisation to provide insurance  for rides being undertaken by individuals under their own cognisance and schedule.
Title: Re: RUSA insurance issues
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on December 04, 2019, 03:41:44 pm
The issue is not insurance for the rider but for the perm organiser and RUSA itself. As it currently stands, riders (or their dependents) can sue perm organisers on the basis that riders were following their route. Previously RUSA organisers/ management were covered against this by insurance.
Title: Re: RUSA insurance issues
Post by: Ajax Bay on December 04, 2019, 05:19:24 pm
Brings into focus the attraction of routes not being mandatory (as in UK). Potential claimants considering such action would have a weaker basis for suing - riding on a public road on a route of their (own) choosing. Organisers should take care to recognise this jeopardy before opting for a 'mandatory' route. Perhaps there is Audax UK policy (or at least a perspective) on this issue.
Title: Re: RUSA insurance issues
Post by: FifeingEejit on December 04, 2019, 05:43:53 pm
Brings into focus the attraction of routes not being mandatory (as in UK). Potential claimants considering such action would have a weaker basis for suing - riding on a public road on a route of their (own) choosing. Organisers should take care to recognise this jeopardy before opting for a 'mandatory' route. Perhaps there is Audax UK policy (or at least a perspective) on this issue.

Not really, there's still a duty of care created from selling them a brevet card. 
Your risk assessment and identifications mitigations are you're arse covering but if anything happens you're going to be defending it in a hostile interview under caution.
Title: Re: RUSA insurance issues
Post by: mattc on December 04, 2019, 07:02:55 pm
Of course, for AUKs, validation of DIY perms ridden overseas is an option.

Should we expect an influx of R10k hunting refugees from across the pond? :)
I didn't really read it properly, but there were some posts on Facebook yesterday that were probably about this. Rather cryptic, but riding AUK DIY Perms *in the states* was being suggested. I think ...
Title: Re: RUSA insurance issues
Post by: alwyn on December 04, 2019, 09:12:40 pm
Not really, there's still a duty of care created from selling them a brevet card. 
Your risk assessment and identifications mitigations are you're arse covering but if anything happens you're going to be defending it in a hostile interview under caution.

Quite. A proper risk assessment,  not a begrudging-one-because-AUK-made-you-do-it, is a fantastic tool. Not only does it help you highlight problems with your route, it also provides handy paperwork to demonstrate due care if needed.
Title: Re: RUSA insurance issues
Post by: Manotea on December 04, 2019, 11:33:10 pm
All other issues aside, the circumstances behind the development at RUSA are very sad. One can only hope both the case against RUSA and RUSA normal operations are resolved/restored quickly.
Title: Re: RUSA insurance issues
Post by: JohnL on December 05, 2019, 08:16:35 am
Not really, there's still a duty of care created from selling them a brevet card. 
Your risk assessment and identifications mitigations are you're arse covering but if anything happens you're going to be defending it in a hostile interview under caution.

Whilst I totally agree there is a duty of care and you may well be civily liable, I’d be astounded if there was even a suggestion you’d be criminally liable....
Title: Re: RUSA insurance issues
Post by: FifeingEejit on December 05, 2019, 11:12:16 am
Not really, there's still a duty of care created from selling them a brevet card. 
Your risk assessment and identifications mitigations are you're arse covering but if anything happens you're going to be defending it in a hostile interview under caution.

Whilst I totally agree there is a duty of care and you may well be civily liable, I’d be astounded if there was even a suggestion you’d be criminally liable....

The Stage Commander at the Jim Clark Rally in 2016 was interviewed under police caution.
UK police investigations when there is a death or serious injury start off on the basis that Taggart's getting involved.
Title: Re: RUSA insurance issues
Post by: Ajax Bay on December 05, 2019, 11:19:53 am
Brings into focus the attraction of routes not being mandatory (as in UK). Potential claimants considering such action would have a weaker basis for suing - riding on a public road on a route of their (own) choosing. Organisers should take care to recognise this jeopardy before opting for a 'mandatory' route. Perhaps there is Audax UK policy (or at least a perspective) on this issue.
Not really, there's still a duty of care created from selling them a brevet card. 
Your risk assessment and identifications mitigations are you're arse covering but if anything happens you're going to be defending it in a hostile interview under caution.
Yes but that 'duty of care' can be (and is in UK) limited by, for example, offering a suggested route, not one that must be followed, to shift the balance of the 'detailed route taken' risks onto the rider. That's why I phrased it as "Potential claimants . .  would have a weaker basis for suing" - not no basis. In other respects the duty of care can be exercised - and in line with @alwyn's comment:
"A proper risk assessment . . . is a fantastic tool. Not only does it help you highlight problems with your route, it also provides handy paperwork to demonstrate due care if needed"
an organiser's risk assessment, duly shared and quality controlled by a competent person is an excellent tool to identify the hazards and their extent, and document measures of mitigation required to achieve ALARP.

In the Organiser's Handbook 2017 [ http://www.aukweb.net/_resources/files/events/Orgs_Handbook_2017.pdf ]
Chapter 3 - Planning Your Event lists (on Page 9) the chapter's contents are listed:

Distance & Types of Event
Audax Altitude Award
Overseas Calendar Events
Scheduling Your Event–Choosing a Date
Start & Finish Points
Facilities
Event Fees & Entries
Budgeting and setting your entry fee;
entry restrictions;
late entries and EOLs;
online entries
Risk Assessment & Contingency Planning

But the chapter ends at 3.5.4 Online Entries (Page 15). No RA & CP.

However in the AUDAX UK Events Planner: A Guide 2012 [ http://www.aukweb.net/_resources/files/organisers/guide/Event_Planner_Guide_2012.pdf ] Section 1.4 deals with and gives an image of a partially completed RA (Page 8 ).
"Completing  the  risk  assessment  is  mandatory. We  will  not  publish  your  event in  the  calendar  until  you have completed your risk assessment. "
However there's no indication of how the quality of a submitted RA is assessed/confirmed, ie by whom. And 2 questions would be asked: what training or guidance has an organiser received in constructing an RA and what is the competence of the Audax UK recipient (and implicitly quality controller) to judge a RA as satisfactory.
Title: Re: RUSA insurance issues
Post by: JohnL on December 05, 2019, 11:33:03 am
Not really, there's still a duty of care created from selling them a brevet card. 
Your risk assessment and identifications mitigations are you're arse covering but if anything happens you're going to be defending it in a hostile interview under caution.

Whilst I totally agree there is a duty of care and you may well be civily liable, I’d be astounded if there was even a suggestion you’d be criminally liable....

The Stage Commander at the Jim Clark Rally in 2016 was interviewed under police caution.
UK police investigations when there is a death or serious injury start off on the basis that Taggart's getting involved.

That is a bit different. People have unfortunately been killed during Audaxes, were the organisers interviewed under caution then? I’d be surprised.
Title: Re: RUSA insurance issues
Post by: FifeingEejit on December 05, 2019, 11:51:01 am
Not really, there's still a duty of care created from selling them a brevet card. 
Your risk assessment and identifications mitigations are you're arse covering but if anything happens you're going to be defending it in a hostile interview under caution.

Whilst I totally agree there is a duty of care and you may well be civily liable, I’d be astounded if there was even a suggestion you’d be criminally liable....

The Stage Commander at the Jim Clark Rally in 2016 was interviewed under police caution.
UK police investigations when there is a death or serious injury start off on the basis that Taggart's getting involved.

That is a bit different. People have unfortunately been killed during Audaxes, were the organisers interviewed under caution then? I’d be surprised.

Is it different enough?
It's an event
There is a person identified with a duty of care
Failings were found in the risk management.

The primary differences are:
Those killed were signed on media representatives
and therefore bystanders rather than participants.

It's in a similar realm to cyclist hits pedestrian.
Title: Re: RUSA insurance issues
Post by: JohnL on December 05, 2019, 12:11:59 pm
Is it different enough?
It's an event
There is a person identified with a duty of care
Failings were found in the risk management.

The primary differences are:
Those killed were signed on media representatives
and therefore bystanders rather than participants.

It's in a similar realm to cyclist hits pedestrian.

In fairness I wasn’t think along the lines of external parties being injured/ killed so there might be a slight link. But the rally was a ’closed’ event with (I presume) places where people could spectate, or otherwise be expected to be, designated by the organisers. I concede there are some similarities, but more differences. I maintain criminal liability is unlikely.
Title: Re: RUSA insurance issues
Post by: FifeingEejit on December 05, 2019, 12:42:50 pm
You're right Criminal liability is unlikey to be found.

The stage commander wasn't formally charged .
But the police weren't exactly slow in placing him under caution
IIRC it was one of the first things they did after assessing that there was a KSI incident.

He had a bit of a public rant about it, the police were only interested in the fact people had died under his duty of care; he had to show the risk processes etc that the organizers had gone through.
It was the preliminary hearings and FAI (the civil investigation) that caused the MSA to review their risk management guidelines that means Media are now considered spectators with no access to restricted areas, and extra processes to ensure the restricted areas are properly marked out.
They used to be simply taped off with a single line of tape, some people claimed they believed that was just to edge of the road at a spectator area.

The chain of responsibility with motorsport is more obvious, partly because route authorization is recorded with them.

But consider:
Police: "Why were you riding at 30kmh on a shared use path"
Rider: "I was under time pressure and this bit of paper sent me this way, its a etc..."
Police: "Who's event is it?"
They will ask this... another rider an I were stopped on a 600 on the B7076 last season after someone had taken a wrong turn onto the motorway and were asked this.

Snowballs from there...
Title: Re: RUSA insurance issues
Post by: mattc on December 05, 2019, 07:38:53 pm
Would we get more organisers if we called them "Stage Commanders"?
Title: Re: RUSA insurance issues
Post by: CrazyEnglishTriathlete on December 06, 2019, 05:59:24 am
Not really, there's still a duty of care created from selling them a brevet card. 
Your risk assessment and identifications mitigations are you're arse covering but if anything happens you're going to be defending it in a hostile interview under caution.

Quite. A proper risk assessment,  not a begrudging-one-because-AUK-made-you-do-it, is a fantastic tool. Not only does it help you highlight problems with your route, it also provides handy paperwork to demonstrate due care if needed.

This is not straightforward in the case of old established permanents.  The Cambrian Series rides cover 1000s of kilometres of Welsh roads.  I inherited them in 2007, but they were already established events well before 2002 when I started riding Audax events.  The guidance sheet that I send to all first-time Cambrian Permanents has a generic risk assessment and instructions that "These Permanents are for Experienced Randonneurs" and "It is the Entrants’ responsibility to ensure that any roads and route chosen are suitable for them".  However, over the years junctions will have been altered, previously pristine pieces of tarmac will have generated into gravel-strewn potholes, etc, introducing new specific risks.  It is impractical for anyone to survey such a set of routes on a regular basis and provide specific warnings.

In the past the basis for Audax riding has was one of commonsense, riders were expected to make judgments of the conditions and their state and decide whether they were fit to continue.  Minimalist lighting, reliance on paper route sheets or strips of map, etc, required a high level of concentration and, I would argue, alertness to hazards.  Today's lighting, GPS tracks, and better clothing, make it easier to follow the route (without undermining the audaciousness of the achievement) but arguably make the rider more dependent on that route.  In which case the argument, "I crashed and broke my next on that dreadful potholed descent because of your route" becomes more tenable. 

As the courts continue to redefine and extend 'duty of care', it could be a worry.  I would be interested if there is some useful advice on generic warnings we could give to riders to alert them to the risks and ensure that they are prepared to take proper precautions.  In the meantime, I will continue to offer the Cambrian Series, but  I will ensure that attention is drawn to the potential risks of the event in the covering email.  And I will probably suspend my project to create GPS tracks for the events to avoid the inference that  these become a mandatory route.
Title: Re: RUSA insurance issues
Post by: alwyn on December 06, 2019, 07:06:22 am
Mr Undulates, Aidan and I came under considerable pressure from North Yorkshire police back in 2013 over our LEL route. They pored over our route and risk assessments, and demanded control assessments and traffic risk assessments for the control in Thirsk.

The officer demanded several changes to the route, which Mr U challenged him on. He argued that it was safer to not cross a certain road but to join said road further east and then turn off it. Mr U argued that this only made sense if you were in a motor vehicle, and challenged other presumptions on this basis. In the end we were praised for our diligence.

I was really glad of this scrutiny as it forced us to ensure that we were really confident that we'd chosen a route without any unnecessary risks. These days you're lucky to get a courtesy visit from the local bobby.
Title: Re: RUSA insurance issues
Post by: MikeFromLFE on December 06, 2019, 09:20:34 am
I'm not going to attempt to quote the whole post, but Crazyenglishtriathlete makes some excellent points that I'd not considered.
(Disclaimer: it's a long time since I last ride a perm, but I used to do risk assessments professionally in a different world)
I get the feeling that there are two other changes that have happened over the years as well:
I sense that more groups are riding perms - whereas back in the day I seem to think it tended to be individuals. This has benefits for route finding & general 'security', but does it lead to complacency around other hazards possibly from being able to make faster progress?
I do wonder if the shift from riders with a touring background to riders with a sportif / racing orientation has made some (less experienced) participants to have a much higher expectation of the organiser of rides in general and perms in particular. Equally perms may take riders over routes that would be fine on a 'traditional' Audax bike (I'm sure you know what I mean) may not be wholly suitable for a very lightweight steed and minimal luggage for a rider in summer downland clothing.
Title: Re: RUSA insurance issues
Post by: FifeingEejit on December 06, 2019, 09:53:21 am
One of the biggest problems is people don't read the info you send out.

My least favourite question from organizing a trip to St Kilda were:

"Where are we staying?"

Not only did the sign up form for the accommodation say exactly where we were staying,
I had only the previous day sent out details of the hostel to all attendees.
Including a link to the ferry company's website, and which sailings they'd have to use to get to the island to get to Leverburgh in time.

They followed that one up with
"When's the ferry"

 :sick:
Title: Re: RUSA insurance issues
Post by: frankly frankie on December 06, 2019, 10:01:00 am
Some people just like to chat.
Title: Re: RUSA insurance issues
Post by: FifeingEejit on December 06, 2019, 10:15:12 am
Some people just like to chat.

Well true, but...

"It's in the e-mail I sent yesterday"
"Ach i didn't read that"
Title: Re: RUSA insurance issues
Post by: quixoticgeek on December 06, 2019, 12:20:20 pm
This is not straightforward in the case of old established permanents.  The Cambrian Series rides cover 1000s of kilometres of Welsh roads.  I inherited them in 2007, but they were already established events well before 2002 when I started riding Audax events.  The guidance sheet that I send to all first-time Cambrian Permanents has a generic risk assessment and instructions that "These Permanents are for Experienced Randonneurs" and "It is the Entrants’ responsibility to ensure that any roads and route chosen are suitable for them".  However, over the years junctions will have been altered, previously pristine pieces of tarmac will have generated into gravel-strewn potholes, etc, introducing new specific risks.  It is impractical for anyone to survey such a set of routes on a regular basis and provide specific warnings.

Define experienced?

One of the problems that can arise is that those who have been doing it longer can have a higher tolerance of shite conditions than the newer, meaning that poor routing is tolerated more. I scratched from a 300 this year because I was fed up with Belgian Drivers trying to kill me. I notice that the route, unchanged, is back on the calendar for 2020. If I was route checking it, I would not put it forward for rider of any experience, and I have a pretty high threshold for dealing with crap drivers.

Quote
In the past the basis for Audax riding has was one of commonsense, riders were expected to make judgments of the conditions and their state and decide whether they were fit to continue.  Minimalist lighting, reliance on paper route sheets or strips of map, etc, required a high level of concentration and, I would argue, alertness to hazards.  Today's lighting, GPS tracks, and better clothing, make it easier to follow the route (without undermining the audaciousness of the achievement) but arguably make the rider more dependent on that route.  In which case the argument, "I crashed and broke my next on that dreadful potholed descent because of your route" becomes more tenable. 

Surely the improved lighting makes it easier to avoid the potholes? Surely not having to focus on the cryptic text on a vibrating set of handlebars, means that a rider is more able to look around them and basically keep their eyes on the road. A descent modern GPS gives you the same field of view as the strip of map.

The difference is that many people will just load a GPX and go, they won't put it on a map and see where it goes. Where as the strip of map people have gone to the effort of plotting and cutting, and should have taken in some basic awareness of the route in the process. But loading a GPX onto a wahoo, is no different from sticking a route sheet to the handlebars and following it.

Quote
As the courts continue to redefine and extend 'duty of care', it could be a worry.  I would be interested if there is some useful advice on generic warnings we could give to riders to alert them to the risks and ensure that they are prepared to take proper precautions.  In the meantime, I will continue to offer the Cambrian Series, but  I will ensure that attention is drawn to the potential risks of the event in the covering email.  And I will probably suspend my project to create GPS tracks for the events to avoid the inference that  these become a mandatory route.

A GPX and a route sheet are effectively the same thing, they are just different ways of encoding the same data. Not publishing a GPX as it may come cross as being a mandatory route, yet publishing a route sheet does not follow logically. If you don't want it to feel like a mandatory route, publish only the list of controls, and no route sheet/gpx.

I do wonder if the shift from riders with a touring background to riders with a sportif / racing orientation has made some (less experienced) participants to have a much higher expectation of the organiser of rides in general and perms in particular. Equally perms may take riders over routes that would be fine on a 'traditional' Audax bike (I'm sure you know what I mean) may not be wholly suitable for a very lightweight steed and minimal luggage for a rider in summer downland clothing.

The main thing with the fine for a calendar event but maybe not for a perm, is the question of timing. When riding as a calendar event you may get to a certain section of road, typically at about 2000 on a Saturday night, but if you did the perm at another time, maybe you hit it at 5pm on a weekday, when the traffic is a lot worse.

The guy I'm organising the 200 with in March did a route check of a section recently, and commented that it was quite busy. My first question was "what time of day did you do it?" My Saturday check had much better traffic than his weekday one.

That said, the lightweight steed and minimal luggage of your example may be equally bad on the calendar event. How often do we hear reports of people being stuck on a hill as the weather closes in because, feeling really cold and wet as they didn't pack the right clothing? A Perm doesn't make this any more likely than a calendar event.

J
Title: Re: RUSA insurance issues
Post by: frankly frankie on December 06, 2019, 01:02:09 pm
And the kind of bike you ride  and the clothes you wear are just a personal lifestyle choice.  They have no bearing whatsoever on competence, success or failure, or accident-proneness.