Flywheel Bicycles, my bike shop in Talent, offers Southern Oregon cyclists great service and repair options and has been a cornerstone for the local cycling community. In 2020, Flywheel was unfortunately lost to the Almeda fire. After two years of a challenging rebuild, we reopened in November 2022. While purchasing insurance for Flywheel, my insurance broker couldn’t find an underwriter to cover bicycle rentals. The problem is Oregon courts will not honor the liability waivers our customers would need to sign before renting a bike.
Renting demo bikes to prospective buyers is a powerful sales tool. It helps customers find the perfect new bike for their riding style. But without enforceable liability waivers, we worry about the costs associated with a potential lawsuit and cannot continue this program for fear of losing Flywheel, yet again.
I’ve joined Protect Oregon Recreation, a broad coalition of recreation and fitness providers across the state, to urge passage of SB 754 in the Oregon State Legislature. The bipartisan bill restores a balanced, long-standing legal liability standard that exists in every other western state: individuals accept responsibility for engaging in inherently risky activities, and businesses accept responsibility for maintaining the required safety standards of its operations and facilities.
As a small rural business owner, I’m concerned if we don’t restore this balanced approach, small businesses and rural communities will disproportionately bear the brunt of reduced access and higher costs for recreation options.
We urge you to support this bipartisan effort. To learn more, visit www.protectoregonrec.org.
This piece was originally published in Rogue Valley Times