Ask Dr. Dumb: Runners vs. Little Girls on Bikes

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istockphoto.com

Readers, with all the crazy stuff happening in the world today, we won't blame you if you missed the story out of Canada about a grown man who sued a 10-year-old girl after he "jogged" into her bicycle

It's important news, though, with far-reaching implications for anyone who runs and is super-litigious, which, we assume, describes most of you. 

You can read details here, but in a nutshell: Back in August 2014, a man named Rosario Perilli was jogging on a residential street in Kamloops, British Columbia when he encountered a girl (10 years old at the time) and two friends riding their bikes. Approaching them from behind, Perilli tried to pass the girl and "struck her back wheel, causing him to fall and injure his shoulder."

Perilli sued the girl and her grandparents; late last month a judge dismissed the suit, a decision Perilli is said to have found "disappointing."

What does this decision mean for you? How might such an accident have been avoided in the first place? And since when are dudes named "Rosario"?

For answers to these questions and more, we turned to our resident legal scholar, Dr. Dumb. (Note: While Dr. Dumb isn't technically a lawyer, he did once get almost halfway through a practice LSAT and has watched every single episode of Better Call Saul.)

Dumb Runner: I know Canadian law differs in important ways from American law, but is it generally accepted that Kamloops is a cool name for a town? 
Dr. Dumb: It is. Also it's just fun to say. "Kam-LOOPS." Try it.

Kamloops.
See?

We're all having a chuckle at Mr. Perilli's expense, but his injuries were fairly serious, weren't they?
Yes. Apparently when he fell he hurt his shoulder "severely enough that he later required surgery."

But suing a 10-year-old girl is still a dick move, right?
The legal phrase is timeret novitiatus erectio, but... yes. Obviously he should have gone after the manufacturer of the bicycle instead.

Was the girl's bicycle equipped with rainbow handlebar streamers?
That is unclear from news reports.

I ask because more than once I've found myself mesmerized by rainbow handlebar streamers. One time it resulted in my walking into a large display of Easter decorations.
Easter decorations?

It happened in a store.
Ah.

So, in your expert opinion, both medically and legally, how can these accidents best be avoided?
In an ideal world, children wouldn't be out swanning around on bicycles—they'd be home, watching YouTube videos of cats on Roombas. But this is not an ideal world. So the best we can do when we encounter kids on bikes is to give them a wide berth.

How wide?
Wide enough that, if they swerve at the last minute, you aren't risking a collision that could send you to the hospital.

Makes sense. Hey, what if runners had little bells they could ring to alert others to their presence, the way cyclists do?
That's called a RunBell, and it already exists:

That seems effective.
It's OK, I guess. As I've noted many times before, I prefer using a handheld air horn.

Dr. Dumb, as always, thank you for your time. Ding ding!
You're welcome. HONNNNNK!