While I’m busy overcoming the cycling blahs (see previous post), I learned of a case where a really enthusiastic cyclist went out to beat a record for a segment on Strava — and lost his life when he collided with a car.
You’re probably aware of Strava — the GPS-based training aid that’s gaining in popularity by the day. I mentioned it here earlier this year. The main attraction of Strava seems to be its ability to divide a ride into segments. If you post the segments publicly, others can see your time for that segment and try to beat it.
Users have even coined a name for it, as noted on the Competitive Cyclist website:
- Stravacide, [strah-veh-sahyd]
- To ride significantly harder during training than originally planned (e.g. on a climb or a defined stretch of road) in order to increase one’s ranking on the Strava Leaderboard for a specific segment.
Now, the family of the deceased cyclist, one Kim Flint, Jr., is suing Strava, claiming its general negligence led to the wrongful death of Flint. The complaint alleges that Strava breached its “duty of care” by failing to warn cyclists that the road on that segment was “not suited for racing” and “unreasonably dangerous;” for failing to take measures to ensure that KOM (King of the Mountain) challenges take place on safe courses; and for encouraging dangerous behavior. The suit, which seeks damages in excess of $25,000, contends that if Strava had done those things, Flint would not have died as he did.
Hey, I just report the facts. I’ll let you figure out whether the plaintiffs have a leg to stand on, or if this suit will be thrown out of court as frivolous. All I know is that, while I don’t use Strava myself, I do have several segments on my routes where I do keep track of my times — or, more often, my top speed. I don’t need Strava for that, and I don’t need a third party looking out for me to make sure my record-breaking attempts are done under pristine conditions. I don’t need Strava to kill myself; I’m perfectly capable of doing that on my own.
Of course, I’m also perfectly capable of judging conditions for myself, and determining whether I’m comfortable challenging my best on a given day, or waiting until the wind, for the road surface, or debris, or reflected light, or whatever changes until I am comfortable.
Strava didn’t make Flint ride that day.