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Family Sues San Francisco Website for Son's Death

Casper, Meadows, Schwartz & Cook

Nearly two years to the day of his death, a family filed a lawsuit in San Francisco against a website company that the family says encouraged their son to speed on his bicycle. The family blames their son's wrongful death on local website company Strava for not warning cyclists about the dangers of biking in certain locations.

The 41-year-old Oakland man died in 2010 when he was riding his bike down a street in Grizzly Peak at more than 10 miles per hour over the posted speed limit of 30 mph. He had to brake suddenly to avoid a car, his bike flipped and he crashed into the car.

What does that have to do with a website you ask? Strava hosts and rewards bikers who win virtual bike races. The contestants use electronic global positioning systems to record their speed and distance along certain courses. They then compare their times against other bikers. Someone else had just bested the victim's title and he was trying to reclaim his "King of the Mountains" award.

The family argues that Strava does not monitor certain courses or segments of road for dangerous conditions. They take no responsibility for the safety of the cyclists participating in their contests. The family says if Strava knows a certain highway is dangerous, they should take it off their list of race routes. The internet company claims there is no merit to the frivolous lawsuit, according to the law.

As a side note, the bicyclist who hit and killed a San Francisco pedestrian in March was reportedly timing his route for Strava. He now faces several charges in that case, including felony vehicular manslaughter.

Source:, "Family sues virtual-race site for cycling death," June 19, 2012