Suing Damages for An Injury During a Jump In a Bicycle Race Course

Should It Be Determined Whether the Way In Which a Jump In a Bicycle Race Course Was Designed Subjected the Injured Cyclist to An Extreme Risk of Injury ? In Branco v. Kearny Moto Park, Inc. (1995) 37 Cal.App.4th 184, defendant Kearny Moto Park, Inc. (KMP) designed and operated a bicycle motocross (BMX) park. KMP and other defendants, including the American Bicycle Association (ABA), sponsored the BMX race. Ironically, the ABA boasted that "BMX was 'the safest of all the action youth sports. '" the race course included bumps, jumps, turns, straightaways, and obstacles. In particular, the race course offered what was referred to as the "million dollar jump" or the "million dollar doubles," which consisted of two hills. As he tackled the "million dollar jump," the plaintiff wheelied the jump, fell, and suffered serious injuries. In identifying certain characteristics of the "million dollar jump," the plaintiff's expert stated that the slope of the first hill placed the cyclist in an extremely unbalanced position. The expert also stated that the distance between the hills required the cyclist to travel at a very high rate of speed to clear the second hill. According to the expert, the faulty design of the "million dollar jump" caused the plaintiff's accident. In Branco, the court observed: "It is not unreasonable to expect a BMX course to refrain from utilizing jumps which by design create an extreme risk of injury. Certainly the jumps, and falls, are inherent to the sport, and under the doctrine of primary assumption of risk, there is no duty to eliminate the jumps entirely, and no duty to protect from injury arising from reasonably designed jumps. However, the sport does not inherently require jumps which are designed in such a way as to create an extreme risk of injury." The court resolved that, "premised on the duty not to utilize dangerously designed jumps, this case falls under the secondary assumption of risk category, and issues pertaining to the plaintiff's comparative fault are for the trier of fact to decide." Specifically, the court noted that the trier of fact should determine whether the way in which the "million dollar jump" was designed subjected the plaintiff to an extreme risk of injury.