PCMR sued for mountain-bike crash
Claiming that Park City Mountain Resort’s negligence caused a mountain-bike accident, an Illinois man is seeking unspecified damages from the resort in a lawsuit.
An attorney for Gary Takata earlier in December filed the lawsuit in Third District Court at Silver Summit.
According to the nine-page lawsuit, Takata on June, 21, 2004 rented a bicycle at the resort and, while riding it down the mountain, crashed. The lawsuit charges that the resort’s negligence caused the accident. The defendants, which also include a rental shop and 50 people who were not identified by name, were negligent by "failing to safely maintain the bicycle and the mountain and the mountain trails which they controlled supervised, designed and maintained," the lawsuit claims. The defendants failed to perform their tasks in a safe manner, the lawsuit says. Meanwhile, the lawsuit targets the design, mapping, maintenance and marking of the trails, among other trail-related issues, and claims that the resort did not adequately warn Takata of what the complaint claims were the "hazardous and dangerous condition of the bicycle and the mountain bicycle trails . . ." The lawsuit, though, is vague and does not list details like where Takata, who is from Buffalo Grove, Ill., was bicycling and the specifics that led to the claim that PCMR did not safely maintain the trail. " . . . It was impossible for Mr. Takata to fully appreciate and understand the unsafe and dangerous nature of the Defendants’ mountain bicycle trails and the unsafe condition of the bicycle," the lawsuit says. Takata’s attorney, Charles Gruber, with offices in Sandy, claims in the lawsuit that his client has suffered bodily pain, suffered mentally, suffered an economic loss and incurred medical bills. The lawsuit does not specify an amount that Takata wants but says that the amount exceeds $20,000. In a Monday interview, Takata said he was at PCMR with his girlfriend and looked at the bicycles and asked questions about them. He said he offered $100 for a mountain-bike guide but was told by someone at a bike shop that they didn’t need one. The defendants, he said, "lull you into a false sense of security." Takata said the crash shattered his left heel and he tore his rotator cuff in his right shoulder. He required surgery and, during the operation, he had eight screws and metal plates implanted into his heel, Takata said. He said it took one year to recover and he does not have the full use of his left foot. "If I landed on my head, I wouldn’t be talking to you today," he said, adding that he was a competitive runner before the crash but no longer participates in the sport. Takata described the outing at PCMR, saying that the mountain-bike trails were not well marked and a trail map was not adequate. He got off the mountain bike at one point but then got back on, he said. Before the crash, Takata said he was not pedaling but "picked up so much velocity" on a rocky trail. He said he approached speeds of 60 mph as he descended the mountain. He tapped the brakes and the back of the bicycle whipped around before he crashed into a ditch, Takata said. He said the resort’s mountain-bike patrollers performed well after the crash and reached him quickly. Takata relates what he sees as inadequate trail markings to the way ski runs are designated, saying the situation is comparable to an inexperienced skier inadvertently skiing onto an expert run because of a lack of signs. Midwesterners, he said, generally are not prepared for mountain-bike trails like the one where he crashed. Krista Parry, a spokeswoman for PCMR, said the resort had not been served with the lawsuit and declined to comment. Gruber, Takata’s attorney, did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.
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Park City Mountain Resort owner Vail Resorts in early June submitted a letter to the Park City Planning Commission in support of a Provo developer’s blueprints for a major project at the resort.