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Race organisers not liable for racer's injury
A Pennsylvania judge dismissed on Wednesday the lawsuit of a cyclist paralyzed from the sternum down in a crash which occurred during the 2005 Tour de 'Toona. Sarah Scott, 31, had sued the Tour de 'Toona, the Altoona Bicycle Club and its president, Larry Bilotto, USA Cycling, the Pennsylvania DOT and Huston Township for damages from an accident in which she rode off the course into a three-foot-deep ditch.
Tim Sullivan, the Blair County, Pennsylvania, judge who issued the decision, stated that the two releases signed by Scott prior to racing were an acknowledgement that she assumed the risks of racing and would not sue in event of an injury, according to the Altoona Mirror.
Scott's attorney had argued that the release forms did not absolve the race organisers of "reckless conduct", specifically that the organisers knew of, but did nothing to render safe, the ditch which Scott rode into.
The judge ruled that there was "nothing ambiguous" about the releases' language and that the organisers were not liable for damages and injury of participants.
Bilotto was hopeful that the Tour de 'Toona, which will not take place in 2009, will return next year. "We look at this [the judge's decision] as a positive direction for the race. Hopefully, the sponsorships will return."
Scott's attorney will appeal the decision to the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court.