Comments about ‘Family of USU cyclist killed in slackline accident files lawsuit’

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Published: Thursday, May 1 2014 4:45 p.m. MDT

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Lithia, FL

What good will suing the other students do? They don't have any insurance that would cover their portion of $2 million. I understand the grief of the family, but if they win then these 3 students' financial lives are ruined. I'm pretty sure they learned their lesson that day not to put up a slackline where others might come in contact with it. I'm sure there is not a day that goes by that this man's death doesn't haunt these people. Adding financial stress on them does nothing to heal anyone. And if the family ever receives their $2 million, will that heal them? We are too quick to litigate and slow to forgive in this country. I hope the family can find a way to forgive them.

Saratoga Springs, UT

i agree with dtday2003
besides how likely is it that the $2mil earned over his lifetime would have been given to his parents. not likely!

Sandy, UT

First thought is who is responsible if nobody has taken accountability.? Knowing some background on aspects of life one would imagine an emergency room visit of such detrimental damages to range at least $30,000 and up. Add in transportation and funeral costs could at least $8,000 and up from there. If the school or nobody else has taken care of these costs I would imagine next of kin getting the bill. I for one do not think the family should have to fork out that money. They weren't at fault. I heavily get the impression things were taken out of context and the family holds not animosity toward the students at all. If the property belongs to a school with regulations and no regulations have been made in place for safety after such an easily preventable accident then I believe accountability should be sought towards the school in the family's best interest.

Mission Viejo, CA

Motcrew, families end up paying the expenses for their deceased loved ones all the time even when not at fault. How about the son who road his bike at high speeds down a grassy hill in the middle of a potentially crowded park-like setting? While it's very sad that he died, certainly he had some responsibility for his own actions. He could have just as easily hurt someone else. Do we always need someone else to tell us when something might not be safe when common-sense should tell us that?

In but not of
Lehi, UT

This is simple Civil Procedure. The students must be named, but won't have to pay. The University will settle this out.

Arizona Reader
Gilbert, AZ

Was the rope across a bike path???

Ryan J
Bozeman, MT

My understanding is that the rope was not across a bike path but rather between two trees on Old Main Hill. The biker left the pavement to shortcut through the trees and that is where the accident occurred. My heart goes out to the families of all those involved. It would be great if the University shouldered some of the financial responsibility to pay for the financial burden associated with the funeral etc. However, I feel that the responsibility for safety while riding a bicycle lies with the rider and the University should not be held responsible to foresee all possible scenarios that could end in injury or death.

Austin Coug
Pflugerville, TX

I feel for the loss for the family of this biker. It was an unfortunate and fluky event. However, i am disappointed that they are choosing to find someone to blame and hoping to collect millions in the process. Unfortunately, this is becoming the norm.


If the university is sued, ultimately the thousands of students who attend there will be affected by the lost money. This was a terrible accident, and for healing on all parts, forgiveness is required. $2 million dollars won't fix the damage and won't change the past, nor will it heal the future. Now the parents are extending the pain by trying to punish others. Also, if hitting the rope immediately severed the trachea, the student must have been going extremely fast in an area that had many people in it (i.e. setting up for an outdoor movie, the rope walkers themselves).

San Diego, CA

USU's bicycle policy can be found online: "The use of bicycles, skateboards, and in-line skates shall be allowed only as a means of transportation on walkways and other vehicular travelways of USU. Anyone using a bicycle, skateboard, or in-line skates on USU property shall give right of way to any pedestrian and shall travel at a reasonable, safe, and prudent speed."

If the student who died was riding on the lawn and not a "walkway" or "other vehicular travelway", and was not riding "at a reasonable, safe, and prudent speed" this will be a tough case to win.

Mom of Six
Northern Utah, UT

As a former Aggie, I can say that Old Main Hill is not set up to be biking at that high of a speed in the first place. The paths on old main are WALKING paths and are not set up for someone biking as such a high rate of speed.


Like money is going to help......
Greed won't solve your problems.

DN Subscriber
Cottonwood Heights, UT

No matter what type of accident, there will always be some lawyer who tells grieving relatives that they might win millions of dollars (and of course, teh lawyer will get about a third of that for his troubles).

In my mind, I cannot see that this is a case about justice, or punishing illegal conduct, or preventing future illegal actions. I can only see greed exploiting sorrow.

Accidents happen, and sometimes people do stupid, but not illegal things, such as stringing slacklines, or riding bikes at unsafe speeds in unauthorized areas. Not everything should result in lawsuits.


The sad thing about this whole mess, is that there was an event the other week or so to commemorate this young man who had lost his life, and now the family is going to try and extort money from the boys who set up the rope, as well as the University. The deceased was in violation of the school bicycle policy, by taking the short cut down the hill, as a result his family is now trying to claim that the school, and other students are fully responsible for his mistake.

trying2 be...
West Jordan/US, UT

I am totally disheartened by the decision to take this action. I was so impressed by the way you dealt with this tragedy. And by the follow up - to knock our door and extend the hand of friendship in the wake of shared sorrows. I would certainly hope that Utah State's insurance helped cover expenses. That would be fair and expected, but to go to this excess is not right. And to destroy three young men's lives, more so than the tragedy already has?? This just reopens the wounds that had appeared to be healed for you. Please reconsider this action! I had looked up to you, and expect to do so again - but this cannot be. You once asked, "Is it really possible that not forgiving is worse than the sin itself?" I'm not sure what your opinion was at the time, but in answering this question you will find answers. You deserve more than 2 million dollars, peace is worth more - but the only way to obtain that peace now and in the future is to abandon this action and rise above it.

Hyde Park, UT

If the family is looking to enact some measure of justice upon the individuals involved, I can personally attest that they have already undergone serious emotional trauma. As a neighbor and personal friend to two of the three individuals named, I can say that they simply need an opportunity to move on with their lives, and that continuing to bring up this seriously traumatic experience for all of them does serious harm. The feelings of guilt and horror at the situation seriously messed up even just the day-to-day functionality of these guys, and required some pretty major counseling.

Yes, it was a tragedy. And yes, we all want the family to feel at peace. But this method of lashing out at the individuals involved and the University is only causing further (and I think unnecessary) pain for all parties.

Mchenry, IL

I think it's ridiculous. It was a freak incident. The students didn't leave it tied up forever. They were still there and not done using it. I think the students who put up the line are as responsible as the biker who did not and could not stop in time. You don't walk above paved area. How would they expect a bike to come between those trees? How would they know you couldn't see the line in time even if it were over a path. All this will do is outlaw one activity and perhaps require bikes only on paths? Heck, a lawyer might say outlaw bikes on property all together.

Perhaps the lines could be altered to stand out more?

Logan, UT

I live in Logan. This was a tragedy for the community. I know none of the parties involved but I DO know what it is like to lose a child. No one was responsible but if they had been, it would have been easy for the anger I felt to rain down on their head.

It would have temporarily felt good but it would not have been detrimental for me in the end.

I'll say as compassionately as I can that I don't think this is a wise course of action. This will hamper, if not destroy the lives of three people who I truly do not think could have possibly known the tragedy of what would happen. I don't presume to know how these kids feel but my guess is they will be haunted.

He was not on a bike path.I do not see any more amount of reckless behavior in the actions of setting up a line like that then riding your bike off path on a steep hill at a speed that would sever a trachea on impact.

I mainly hope for personal peace and reconciliation comes to all parties involved.

Cache, UT

Ambulance chasers in America believe that accidents are golden opportunities for money. Just listen to the commercials played all day..."Have you been injured in an accident?"

Accidents happen. The kid was riding his bike too fast in a tree filled area. He died. Nobody was at fault except for him.

If 2 million dollars is awarded for this case, then the people of Utah end up paying this family for their kid's negligence. We shouldn't even have to defend such a frivolous lawsuit. The lawyers who filed this should be fined.

I hope they put me on the jury.

On the other hand
Riverdale, MD

Nobody wants to tell grieving parents that their kid did something stupid, but honestly, which is the worse assumption: that it's safe to set up a rope between two trees on a grassy, tree-covered hill, or that it's safe to race down that same hill on your bike? Obviously neither party anticipated the other, but I hardly think that makes the surviving party liable for $2 million. I hope they find a way to settle this one out of court.

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