Author Topic: Routesheets and The Law  (Read 8559 times)

Manotea

  • Where there is doubt...
Routesheets and The Law
« on: September 20, 2010, 09:41:36 am »
On taking legal advice the Bikehike man decided to withdraw from providing a public repository for routes prepared by others. Whilst looking at generating routesheets from GPX tracks, Simonp commented: "a bigger concern for me would be the legal issues.  Once you start providing prescribed routes, you better be damn sure they have been checked properly."

Perhaps naively perhaps, I just don't get it. You publish a route with the legend, 'use at your own risk' and that's it, isn't it?

More to the point, could an AUK org be sued for an error in a routesheet? Could he/she counter sue if a rider decides not to follow the routesheet? What's the deal here?

andygates

  • Peroxide Viking
Re: Routesheets and The Law
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2010, 09:50:36 am »
Sounds like someone's lawyer-whipped.  Never heard of it happening.  And every GPS vendor would be doubleplus vulnerable.
It takes blood and guts to be this cool but I'm still just a cliché.
OpenStreetMap UK & IRL Streetmap & Topo: ravenfamily.org/andyg/maps updates weekly.

Re: Routesheets and The Law
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2010, 09:56:13 am »
Impossible to know without understanding what the exact nature of the query was to the lawyer.

Re: Routesheets and The Law
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2010, 10:05:09 am »
I'd be interested to know if any claim has ever been made on the AUK insurance. Or if any reference has been made to the nature of Audax in legal or insurance cases.

Re: Routesheets and The Law
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2010, 11:41:42 am »
Or come to that has a mapmaker ever been successfully sued?

See this site with an opinion by a UK lawyer about a US case where Google got sued.
Events I am running: 16th February 2020 Cancelled Storm; 4th Apr 2020 Cancelled CoronaVirus; 20th Jun 2020 Willesden's Last Gasp 600K;

Euan Uzami

Re: Routesheets and The Law
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2010, 11:55:54 am »
smells like some, albeit innocent, paranoia has been borne out the confusion between "could you be sued" and "could you be successfully sued".

andygates

  • Peroxide Viking
Re: Routesheets and The Law
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2010, 12:00:12 pm »
Quote
A Court in the United Kingdom would not be impressed with such a complaint.
It takes blood and guts to be this cool but I'm still just a cliché.
OpenStreetMap UK & IRL Streetmap & Topo: ravenfamily.org/andyg/maps updates weekly.

Re: Routesheets and The Law
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2010, 01:03:02 pm »
.........................................
Perhaps naively perhaps, I just don't get it. You publish a route with the legend, 'use at your own risk' and that's it, isn't it?
More to the point, could an AUK org be sued for an error in a routesheet? Could he/she counter sue if a rider decides not to follow the routesheet? What's the deal here?
A tricky one Manotea.
Initial reaction to any claim after being issued with "use at your own risk" would probably be "nothing to do with us, read the small print". But things are never that simple.
I can understand that risk assesments are required by the company's (AUK) insurers, it would tend to suggest that there's an element of uncertainty - or an aspect they're unhappy about. And the insurers require some form of declaration that somebody has taken the time to ride and asses the suitability of the route. The fact that they're contiually requiring risk assesments for the same event, using the same route, year after year - would tend to point a finger at something not being fit for purpose.
This being the case, where there's blame - there's a claim.
where you have a concentration of power in a few hands, all too frequently men with the mentality of gangsters get control. History has proven that. Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.

nicknack

  • Hornblower
Re: Routesheets and The Law
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2010, 01:07:12 pm »
If that was the case then Google's/AA's/etc. routefinders would be stuffed.
There's no vibrations, but wait.

Re: Routesheets and The Law
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2010, 01:11:30 pm »
If that was the case then Google's/AA's/etc. routefinders would be stuffed.

I don't understand
where you have a concentration of power in a few hands, all too frequently men with the mentality of gangsters get control. History has proven that. Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: Routesheets and The Law
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2010, 01:16:44 pm »
Given that AUK insurers have some qualms about this (see Blacksheep's comments), that suggests that they wouldn't recommend hosting a public website with this stuff on without insurance cover. I can understand, given the vast exposure the web creates, why an uninsured individual would choose caution over valour on this.

The route-finders (AA/Google etc) are a bit different, as they are clearly automated, picking sections of the public highway based entirely on your selection criteria;
an Audax organiser has created a complete route, deliberately choosing certain roads.

Maybe this makes no significant difference in court, but I can see a material difference.
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

Weirdy Biker

Re: Routesheets and The Law
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2010, 01:31:17 pm »
I'm personally comfortable making available my route sheets and gpx files via a personal website.  These are offered for audax events for which I have submitted a risk assesment.  If someone downloads these and rides them without entering my event using the audax UK form, I have no legal responsibility.  Indeed, they are technically stealing my personal property by downloading it and using it.

Taking to extremes, google maps (and other routing software) would be getting their asses sued off for sending people down certain roads.

Re: Routesheets and The Law
« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2010, 01:36:53 pm »
I think the circumstances probably do change it, and you won't get a black and white answer unless you take a case to court. 

Like you say, the route-finders are clearly automated, so you wouldn't expect too much.  A gpx from a random website with user-contributed files might be similar?  But in neither case can anyone ever guarantee someone can't try to sue you.

But if someone has paid to enter something, then gets instructions, you might reasonably expect they would be checked to some degree.  I don't think adding a disclaimer will remove that implication.  (doesn't mean they need to be perfect, but you take reasonable steps to manage the risk, then get insurance to cover anything remaining)

iakobski

Re: Routesheets and The Law
« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2010, 01:42:56 pm »
Given that AUK insurers have some qualms about this (see Blacksheep's comments), that suggests that they wouldn't recommend hosting a public website with this stuff on without insurance cover.

I don't think that necessarily follows. The insurers are not insuring the routesheet, they are insuring an organised event (with a route). It's entirely reasonable to say "we can only insure your event if you have done a risk assessment on the route".

Just providing a routesheet is something different - it is simply a suggested route, not part of anything else.

If this really was an issue, all the idiots who follow satnav instructions and end up in a river or down a cliff would be making a fortune.

Re: Routesheets and The Law
« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2010, 01:53:23 pm »
I'm personally comfortable making available my route sheets and gpx files via a personal website.  These are offered for audax events for which I have submitted a risk assesment.  If someone downloads these and rides them without entering my event using the audax UK form, I have no legal responsibility.  Indeed, they are technically stealing my personal property by downloading it and using it.
+1  :thumbsup:
Taking to extremes, google maps (and other routing software) would be getting their asses sued off for sending people down certain roads.
Probably not. All satnav units have "user preferences" automaticly applied every time you use it to navigate, admittedly very few folk ever bother to check them. Hence why massive class 1 HGVs end-up down tiny lanes. As featured on the Cotswold Corker 2008 at the bottom of Caudle Green, or on the Brevet Cymru 2009 on the drop into Newquay
where you have a concentration of power in a few hands, all too frequently men with the mentality of gangsters get control. History has proven that. Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Re: Routesheets and The Law
« Reply #15 on: September 20, 2010, 01:58:15 pm »
Perhaps naively perhaps, I just don't get it. You publish a route with the legend, 'use at your own risk' and that's it, isn't it?

There are some things you just can't disclaim. Negligence is one. I guess this comes down to someone being able to somehow prove that one was negligent in putting together a routesheet.

I had heard that the general advice was to avoid putting 'warning - loose gravel' on routesheets for the fear that the rider (or their lawyer) may take this to mean that the rest of the route is free from problems; if they came a-cropper somewhere else they could argue that the routesheet author was negligent for not warning them about the loose stones on this other corner.

Common sense would dictate that the organisers could make a general warning about road surfaces and that the warnings provided are not guaranteed to be complete, and that the rider is responsible for their own conduct on the road/etc, and only mention specific/notable problems.

However, when you start considering the legal aspects of it then 'common sense' goes out of the window as it's too legally risky. And then people panic about what they theoretically could (or could not) be sued for (whether successfully or not)...
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

andygates

  • Peroxide Viking
Re: Routesheets and The Law
« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2010, 02:20:43 pm »
Exactly, so I say "pish" to the whole fretful thing.  Do what is right.  Piling maybes on top of could-haves and possiblies just ends up with a Jenga tower of gibberish small print.
It takes blood and guts to be this cool but I'm still just a cliché.
OpenStreetMap UK & IRL Streetmap & Topo: ravenfamily.org/andyg/maps updates weekly.

Re: Routesheets and The Law
« Reply #17 on: September 20, 2010, 02:24:48 pm »

I had heard that the general advice was to avoid putting 'warning - loose gravel' on routesheets for the fear that the rider (or their lawyer) may take this to mean that the rest of the route is free from problems; if they came a-cropper somewhere else they could argue that the routesheet author was negligent for not warning them about the loose stones on this other corner.

I was told NEVER put any warnings on the route sheet, for this very reason.

Instead, if advice was considered to be a good idea, put BE AWARE. And of course, you should always be in this state whilst on the road. (Amongst other places)
where you have a concentration of power in a few hands, all too frequently men with the mentality of gangsters get control. History has proven that. Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.

AndyH

Re: Routesheets and The Law
« Reply #18 on: September 20, 2010, 02:26:53 pm »
Exactly, so I say "pish" to the whole fretful thing.  Do what is right.  Piling maybes on top of could-haves and possiblies just ends up with a Jenga tower of gibberish small print.

+1

Re: Routesheets and The Law
« Reply #19 on: September 20, 2010, 02:38:15 pm »
If someone downloads [my route sheets] and rides them without entering my event using the audax UK form, I have no legal responsibility.  Indeed, they are technically stealing my personal property by downloading it and using it.

Stealing? Really? Are you serious?

Re: Routesheets and The Law
« Reply #20 on: September 20, 2010, 02:50:15 pm »
If someone downloads [my route sheets] and rides them without entering my event using the audax UK form, I have no legal responsibility.  Indeed, they are technically stealing my personal property by downloading it and using it.

Stealing? Really? Are you serious?

Well, no, it can't be stealing can it.

Theft/stealing is the act of taking something without permission with the intention of depriving the owner permanently of the item. Downloading a copy of something doesn't deprive the owner of the item so it's not theft.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

simonp

  • Omnomnomnipotent.
Re: Routesheets and The Law
« Reply #21 on: September 20, 2010, 02:56:49 pm »
Oh, look, a can of worms.   :facepalm:


frankly frankie

  • I kid you not
    • Fuchsiaphile
Re: Routesheets and The Law
« Reply #22 on: September 20, 2010, 04:50:29 pm »
Just to clarify about risk assessments - although it may well be the case that AUK's insurers require them these days, AFAIK that is not why AUK requires them - AUK considers RAs are good practice in their own right, and certainly instituted them long before there was any pressure from insurers to do so.

I had heard that the general advice was to avoid putting 'warning - loose gravel' on routesheets for the fear that the rider (or their lawyer) may take this to mean that the rest of the route is free from problems; if they came a-cropper somewhere else they could argue that the routesheet author was negligent for not warning them about the loose stones on this other corner.

I think this is a really difficult area for Organisers.  Though my interpretation would be that by putting 'warning - loose gravel' on the routesheet the Org is laying himself open to accusations of  putting the riders in a degree of danger on this section of the route.
Obviously a responsible Org would want to add warnings of this sort wherever appropriate, but I'm afraid it just ain't a good idea.  In the case of gravel, maybe issue warnings at the event start would be better.  If it's a steep downhill ending in a major road T - really that is a tricky one.
It's not dark yet but it's getting there.

Adam

  • It'll soon be summer
    • Charity ride Durness to Dover 18-25th June 2011
Re: Routesheets and The Law
« Reply #23 on: September 20, 2010, 05:14:16 pm »


Theft/stealing is the act of taking something without permission with the intention of depriving the owner permanently of the item. Downloading a copy of something doesn't deprive the owner of the item so it's not theft.

Can I quote you on that as my legal adviser when I try to download a pirate copy of Windows 7.  :P
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.” -Albert Einstein

Re: Routesheets and The Law
« Reply #24 on: September 20, 2010, 05:17:24 pm »


Theft/stealing is the act of taking something without permission with the intention of depriving the owner permanently of the item. Downloading a copy of something doesn't deprive the owner of the item so it's not theft.

Can I quote you on that as my legal adviser when I try to download a pirate copy of Windows 7.  :P

Sure, but remember that software piracy is covered by a different set of offences. ;)
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."