Editorial by Tom Demerly.
The fact that I actually have to sit
down to address this topic makes me angry enough. It
seems like a waste of time. I'm angry I have to spend
time and energy writing about it, but obviously I have
I'm shooting from the hip here, so pardon my vernacular
We posted a "Local Ride Schedule"
to our home page a couple weeks ago. It's the red panel
on the front page of this website you click on to find
out what rides are happening when and where in our area.
We did it for several reasons: To attract active cyclists
to our store as a gathering place with the hopes they
would think of us when they needed to buy something;
as a resource to the cycling community and to help us
have better training rides as well as spread knowledge
about group riding skills.
We spoke briefly with two attorneys regarding
our exposure to liability should someone be killed or injured
on one of these rides. They characterized our exposure as "substantial".
One recommended we not do it. But I love the sport and I want
to grow my business so I gathered my advisors, ask their expert
opinions, considered the information and made a command decision
to accept the risk of posting this information on our site.
Please understand the risks are as follows: Someone
crashes on a ride that was shown on our ride schedule and they
are injured, permanently disfigured or disabled or killed. We
are named as a corporation, and then separately as individuals
sharing in some "fault" or liability for the accident.
The chances of me loosing my business and my personal assets
as well as our employees doing the same are very high. We have
had these lawsuits before, and are prohibited from commenting
on them specifically.
In short: Someone screws up on a ride due to his
or her own stupidity and I loose everything I've worked for.
People, you will not do that to me.
I have been through hell over the last ten years
and the ten years before that building this place up and I am
not about to loose it to the family (and attorney) of some stupid
asshole who can't be bothered to wear a helmet on a training
ride. I don't give a damn who you are. I don't care if you're
Lance Armstrong. If you attend one of the rides leaving from
our store you will wear a helmet. If you show up without wearing
one I will politely try to lend you one. If you don't wear it
I will do the only thing I can realistically do: I will take
the ride board down at once and no longer sponsor any local
cycling clubs. Last year we spent over $14,000 on local event
sponsorships and club sponsorships for the Wolverines, Cycling
Saddlemen, local triathlons and clubs and teams. I guarantee
you: Show up once more with no helmet and I will stop it all
instantly. I will use the $14,000 to buy a new car for myself
that your stupid lawsuit can't take away from me and when someone
comes looking for sponsorship, I don't care if it's a free inner
tube, I will say:
"We no longer support the local cycling community
because _________ (insert asshole's name) did not wear a helmet
on a training ride and placed myself and others at substantial
risk of lawsuits and personal loss."
I will use your name. I will use the 4,441 readers
who saw this website yesterday. I will tell everyone it was
your fault personally. Because it was. And I will put the brakes
on supporting the cycling community so fast it will make your
When you show up to a group ride without a helmet
you are placing others at risk. I won't lecture you about your
own safety. If you ride without a helmet you are obviously so
stupid and naïve I'd be wasting my time. But for God's
sake, take a second to think about others.
I do not want to be in the middle of a ride, have
to stop, clear your airway, stop your bleeding, maintain your
circulation and try to summon help. That is not what I got on
my bike on a Saturday morning (or any other day) to do. I don't
want your blood and gore on my clothing, I don't want to see
the inside of your skull broken open and your head injured so
severely you are having a seizure while me and others on the
ride try to save your life. I don't want to perform CPR and
mouth to mouth on a person injured severely because they had
Let me ask you this: Do you want to press your
lips to mine when they are blue or white from oxygen deprivation,
my jaw is crushed and teeth broken and my airway blocked because
of shattered cervical vertebrae? Do you want to pull your face
away from my unconscious head as thick blood pours out the back
of a fractured skull? Do you want to try to maintain your composure
as you do chest compressions and count the seconds for EMS to
arrive while an innocent driver stares at this gruesome scene
in front of them? Do you want to come to grips with the fact
that I died right in front of you on something as innocent as
a bike ride?
No, you don't. And because I know you don't I
wear a helmet on every group ride. And if you are on one of
the rides posted on our ride board you will wear one too. Without
fail. Without excuses. I don't care who you are, you start a
ride from my store you WILL wear a helmet.
Last Sunday (March 23) someone did crash not wearing
a helmet. I found out about it yesterday. I cannot describe
how mad I am. I am tempted to pull the ride board right now
and even discontinue sponsorship of the club the person belongs
to. Realistically I have no other recourse. One of my employees
has two children and I have an obligation to maintain a business
so that person can get a paycheck. You will not threaten that
with your stupidity. I will not allow it.
Show up on one of these rides one more time with
no helmet, then refuse to wear a loaner helmet and I will pull
the ride board immediately and stop paying your club's sponsorship.
It is simple people: Wear a helmet.
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