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Does the provision of a facility make you responsible for those who use it?

A bit of an ugly title, my brain isn't working well enough right now to facilitate the smooth working of my 'blog title function'.

The point at issue here is simply this. Does the provision of a recording facility on the internet, make the provider responsible for the actions of its users? A bit of a silly question maybe but is it? In the States, the family of a rider killed while on his bike are suing Strava. The claim is that the rider was trying to beat a best time on a 'segment', got it all wrong and had a fatal collision with a car. Had the facility not existed, the rider would not have been pushing to beat a time, would not have hit the car etc etc. As I said, a lawsuit has been issued. The family appear to be claiming that Strava are somehow, responsible for this guy's death.

Now this is different to building a log ride or a massive kicker or drop off on a trail, where unsuspecting riders may happen upon it at speed, and do themselves damage. Strava is a sort of social network for riders and runners, where they can record ride data from their gps or smart phone, and view the times of other riders over certain sections of road/trail. The provision of a league table leads some people to view it as a sort of informal time trial facility where you can test yourself against other riders without the formality of time keepers, numbers, race fees etc. No one makes you use it, no one makes you compete against other riders, the data just sits there and you can decide to let it influence you...or not as the case may be.  If you extrapolate the logic employed by the chap's family (or maybe just their lawyers) however,  would this make Facebook or Twitter responsible for the actions of their users? I guess the lawyers have got it into their minds that laws and liability on the internet are ripe for exploitation. Will this give rise to more claims in future or will the courts see sense and throw it out?

It is interesting to see cycling (albeit indirectly) in the vanguard of internet legislation, it is just a shame that someone had to die in the process.

 

 

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