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H 4501
Session 113 (1999-2000) 

H 4501 General Bill, By M. McLeod, Harvin, G. Brown, Woodrum, McCraw, Phillips, 
T. Brown, Hosey, Lloyd and Simrill
 A BILL TO AMEND CHAPTER 5, TITLE 56, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976,
 RELATING TO MOTOR VEHICLES AND EQUIPMENT, BY ADDING ARTICLE 32 SO AS TO
 PROVIDE FOR LIMITED LIABILITY FOR OFF-ROAD VEHICLE ACTIVITY SPONSORS AND
 OFF-ROAD VEHICLE PROFESSIONALS FOR INJURIES SUFFERED BY OFF-ROAD VEHICLE
 ACTIVITY PARTICIPANTS.

   01/27/00  House  Introduced and read first time HJ-22
   01/27/00  House  Referred to Committee on Judiciary HJ-22



A BILL

TO AMEND CHAPTER 5, TITLE 56, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO MOTOR VEHICLES AND EQUIPMENT, BY ADDING ARTICLE 32 SO AS TO PROVIDE FOR LIMITED LIABILITY FOR OFF-ROAD VEHICLE ACTIVITY SPONSORS AND OFF-ROAD VEHICLE PROFESSIONALS FOR INJURIES SUFFERED BY OFF-ROAD VEHICLE ACTIVITY PARTICIPANTS.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:

SECTION 1. Chapter 5, Title 56 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:

"Article 32

Off-Road Vehicle Liability Immunity

Section 56-5-3890. (A) As used in this article:

(1) 'off-road vehicle' means a motor-driven vehicle of two or more wheels, whether licensed for street use or not, which is capable of or whose main design purpose is to negotiate off-road terrain for purposes of recreation or competition use including, but not limited to: minibikes, go carts, motorcycles, three-, four-, and six-wheel and tracked all-terrain vehicles. This definition specifically excludes four-wheel drive trucks, jeeps, dune buggies, and other vehicles classified as automobiles, trucks, and industrial or farming equipment;

(2) 'engaged in off-road vehicle activity' means riding, training, or assisting in any of these pursuits or as a passenger on an off-road vehicle, which includes being a spectator at an off-road vehicle event or activity;

(3) 'off-road terrain' means an area not paved for purposes of transit including, but not limited to, forests, beach areas, and fields;

(4) 'off-road vehicle activity' means:

(a) an off-road vehicle show, fair, competition, performance, or parade which includes the following classes of off-road vehicles and off-road vehicle disciplines: trail riding, motocross, supercross, enduros, hare scrambles, poker runs, dual sport, hillclimb, dirt track, speedway, cross country, hunting, and basic transportation use;

(b) off-road vehicle teaching or training activities, or both;

(c) storing off-road vehicles;

(d) riding, inspecting, or evaluating an off-road vehicle belonging to another person, whether the owner has received monetary consideration or another thing of value for the use of the off-road vehicle, or is permitting a prospective purchaser of the off-road vehicle to ride, inspect, or evaluate the off-road vehicle;

(e) a ride, trip, hunt, or other off-road vehicle activity, however informal or impromptu, that is sponsored by an off-road vehicle activity sponsor, whether or not a fee is collected;

(f) repairing, fixing, or maintaining an off-road vehicle.

(5) 'off-road vehicle activity sponsor' means an individual, a group, a club, a partnership, or a corporation, whether the sponsor is operating for profit or nonprofit, which sponsors, organizes, or provides the facilities for an off-road vehicle activity including, but not limited to, an off-road vehicle club, hunt club, riding club, school or college sponsored class, program, or activity, and an operator, instructor, or promoter of an off-road vehicle facility including, but not limited to, a clubhouse, race course, fair, or an arena at which the activity is held;

(6) 'obstacles' include, but are not limited to, ditches, jumps, fences, trees and other vegetation, uneven surfaces, mud, sand, hills, other off-road vehicles, and discarded items that may be in the vicinity of the off-road vehicle activity

(7) 'off-road vehicle professional' means a person engaged for compensation in:

(a) instructing a participant or renting to a participant an off-road vehicle for the purpose of riding, driving, or being a passenger upon the off-road vehicle;

(b) renting equipment to a participant;

(c) examining or repairing an off-road vehicle in the capacity of a technician or mechanic who repairs off-road vehicles.

(8) 'inherent risk of off-road vehicle activity' means those dangers or conditions which are an integral part of off-road vehicle activities, including but not limited to:

(a) the inherent tendency of an off-road vehicle to respond to inputs from its operator, placing upon the operator full responsibility to avoid operation in a manner which could result in injury, harm, or death to the operator or to persons around the off-road vehicle;

(b) certain hazards such as surface and subsurface conditions and obstacles;

(c) collisions with other off-road vehicles or objects;

(d) the potential of a participant to act in a negligent manner that may contribute to injury to the participant or others, such as failing to maintain control of the off-road vehicle or not acting within the participant's ability.

(9) 'participant' means a person, amateur or professional, who engages in an off-road vehicle activity, whether or not a fee is paid to participate in the activity.

(B) Except as contained in subsection (C), an off-road vehicle activity sponsor or off-road vehicle professional is not liable for an injury to or the death of a participant resulting from an inherent risk of off-road vehicle activity. A participant or participant's representative may not make a claim against, maintain a motion against, or recover from an off-road vehicle activity sponsor, or an off-road vehicle professional for injury, loss, damage, or death of the participant resulting from the inherent risk of off-road vehicle activity. Due to the inherent nature of off-road vehicle activity and operation, the sponsor or professional is not liable for injury, loss, damage, or death resulting from obstacles, whether natural or artificial, whether known to the sponsor or professional or not, whether the sponsor or professional rents, owns, leases, or is otherwise in control of the land used for the off-road vehicle activity. It is the full responsibility of the off-road vehicle operator to determine whether or not his skills and equipment are suitable for traversing an obstacle.

(C) Nothing in subsection (B) prevents or limits the liability of an off-road vehicle activity sponsor, or an off-road vehicle professional, if the off-road vehicle activity sponsor or off-road vehicle professional:

(1)(a) provided the equipment and knew or should have known that the equipment was faulty, to the extent that it caused the injury; or

(b) provided the off-road vehicle and failed to make reasonable and prudent efforts to determine the ability of the participant to engage safely in the off-road vehicle activity, based on the participant's representation of his ability;

(2) committed an act or omission that constitutes wilful or wanton disregard for the safety of the participant and that act or omission caused the injury; or

(3) intentionally injured the participant.

(D) Nothing in subsection (B) prevents or limits the liability of an off-road vehicle activity sponsor or an off-road vehicle professional under liability provisions as set forth in the state and federal product liability laws."

SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.

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