Sport Tracking Apps Can Kill You

Paying too much attention to your devices and electronics while on a stroll could be the cause of a catastrophic event. There are cases of bikers looking at their onboard data and not seeing a pothole or loading branch; runners tripping because they are looking at their wrist unit; and walkers who are listening to their headphones while looking at their screens, stepping out into traffic.

First, what can you do about tracking, if you do not want to be tracked? Recently, a former Russian submarine commander was shot to death while being tracked on a running app, Strava. As companies and businesses expand through online data services, many will collect information for various reasons. Sometimes a user may see a “collect cookies” bottom pop-up while online shopping, or when downloading an app, it may ask permission to track. There are several ways to protect your identity and personal information securely.

It is important to be careful when sharing your information with services. Double-checking privacy policies and making sure to review permissions can be key to being safe online.

Certain obstacles are unavoidable! Snakes, for example, traverse bike paths in forests. The best way to overcome such obstacles is to safely cross their path behind them. It’s important to preserve wildlife on your trail, but make sure to pay attention to what’s on the ground, as well as what’s in front of you! Your Apps and mobile devices should not be your first priority.

Being active is a great way to keep yourself healthy. However, looking down at your Apple Watch or smart device to see what your step count is can be a distracting practice. When constantly checking, it can divert attention needed to concentrate on disturbances in the path such as cars, potholes, or tree roots. During a run, relying too heavily on tracking and data monitoring can cause you to become less aware of your immediate surroundings. When doing this while jogging through busy cities or over uneven ground, a trip and fall are likely.

Running in new and potentially risky places while trying to break personal records puts runners at risk of coming across dangerous situations or activities. Users who share their real-time location information and run routes on social media platforms run the danger of having their privacy and security invaded if the information is misused.

While many cyclists will glance to see their speed, distance covered, and heart rate, scrolling through the available data and not paying attention to your surroundings can be a recipe for disaster. This might be seen by a court as an example of contributory negligence,” which would preclude ANY recovery by the injured, but distracted biker.

“Failing to pay full time and attention” is a phrase often used in traffic courts across Northern Virginia. In Virginia,  the courts do NOT compare the fault of the parties, even if the motorist was more at fault than the bicycle rider. If the biker, runner, or walker was a part of the cause of the crash, they cannot recover for their injuries and losses! This ruling is defended by the “assumption of risk” the plaintiff takes on.

Lawyer Landau is an avid runner in the outdoors. When going on runs with headphones, it is important not to have the volume set too high. This allows so you can listen for emergency vehicles, cars honking, alarms, and other important signals that may come your way!

Toggling through an App’s features, or cell phone mounted on the handlebars, can lead to injury. In a crash, the data could be downloaded to show the biker was “distracted” on their ride, such that their injury case would be dismissed for contributory negligence.

Being aware of your surroundings while going on a run is just as important as being aware of what data is being released to applications and services. Before blindly checking off the agree button, be sure to review what privacy policies are used. Each service should have a settings button where you can disclose what details are and aren’t made visible.

If you or someone you know has been injured by a driver or biker distracted by their Apps or devices and has any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at 703–796–9055, or email