A B.C. Supreme Court judge has ruled a mountain biker who was paralyzed in an accident in a Whistler Mountain Resort bike park should have known the risks he was facing when he dropped into a black diamond trail and has denied the mountain biker’s lawsuit.
Cbc.ca reports Blake Jamieson was paralyzed from the waist down after falling down a rock face in 2009. Jamieson sued the resort arguing he was not properly warned of the risks of mountain biking when he signed the waiver for his season pass and had “no idea” that he could go over the handlebars and suffer a spinal injury.
At the time of the injury Jamieson told the bike patrollers he had tried to pre-jump a rock face drop on the lower section of Whistler Mountain Resort’s popular A-Line trail. Patrollers testified Jamieson’s back wheel appeared to hit the rock he was trying to pre-jump, sending him over the handlebars onto the trail below resulting in a spinal injury.Jamieson had worked as both volunteer trail builder and patroller at the bike park for three seasons and had already completed two years training to be a medical doctor prior to the accident. The resort’s lawyers produced documents signed by Jamieson showing he had provided first aid at six accidents in the park involving either head or spinal cord injuries. Contrary to this evidence Jamieson stated his experience as a patroller “In no way put me in a position to understand the risks of mountain biking in the park. On the contrary my time as patroller led me to believe that the risk of serious injury associated with mountain biking the Park were minimal….Had I known this I would not have ridden in the park.”
Jamieson also argued that the 4 page waiver he signed for his season pass did not alert him to the risk of serious or spinal injury while riding in the park and claimed that he believed he maintained the right to sue the park if an accident was not his fault. Madam Justice Neena Sharma made note that Jamieson had an undergraduate degree in English and concluded “Any reasonable person who can read English, faced with the document, would understand that the risks of using the park are very serious.”
Madam Justice Neena Sharma noted the signs around the park that clearly highlighted the danger of the sport and warned riders they needed to individually understand the risk they faced. She also cited numerous other cases in which the courts had held up waivers at ski resorts.
Jamieson’s claim was denied and it was ruled that Whistler was entitled to recover the costs of its legal defence at a future hearing.
VIDEO OF WHISTLER BIKE PARK’S A-LINE TRAIL: