Outdoor recreation is a common thread for the vast majority of Oregonians. It directly contributes to our physical and emotional well-being, and the recreation economy builds communities through shared values, job creation, tourism and tax revenue. It is vital to our state health.
Much of the recreation economy relies on a single document – the liability waiver. For guide services, bike parks, event promoters, bike schools and local rental shops, this waiver is foundational. It’s a balanced agreement: the company agrees to do its absolute best to provide education, gear, and direction while the customer acknowledges there is still inherent risk in the activity. It is a very standard practice across the country and across many industries. Unfortunately, recent court cases have weakened these waivers in Oregon and put these businesses at risk.
Without enforceable liability waivers, insurance becomes more expensive or impossible to find, resulting in higher recreation costs and closed businesses. This isn’t just theory. Businesses are already finding it harder to operate or have simply closed. A bipartisan bill recently introduced in the Oregon Legislature seeks to restore this balance.
To support Senate Bill 754, Oregon Mountain Biking Coalition and over 100 Oregon-based outdoor and fitness organizations came together to form Protect Oregon Recreation. We applaud the bipartisan group of legislators championing this bill and emphasize the immediate need to restore the balanced liability standard that exists in every other western state.
Nate Kuder, Parkdale
Kuder is board president of Oregon Mountain Biking Coalition.
This piece was originally published in The Oregonian