Family of Mauled Bicyclist Drops Lawsuit Against O.C.

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The parents of a mountain biker who was killed by a cougar last year in Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park will drop a wrongful-death lawsuit against Orange County because of numerous protests from cyclists.

Source of this article – Los Angeles Times, March 29, 2005.

By RACHANA RATHI, Times Staff Writer

Mark Reynolds, a 35-year-old Foothill Ranch resident, was mauled by a mountain lion while he crouched to fix his bicycle along Cactus Ridge Trail on Jan. 8,2004.

Dona and Gary Reynolds of St. Joseph, Mo., had filed the lawsuit March 16, alleging that the county should have known the park was dangerous because mountain lions were present.

However, after news of the lawsuit spread last week, more than 25 messages on the Mark J. Reynolds Memorial Foundation website Friday urged the family to drop the lawsuit, saying cyclists understand the risks of hiking in wilderness parks.

“Our intention was not to upset his friends, fellow bikers, hiking clubs and national hiking associations, hiking-related companies, nor the trails in which the enjoyment of hiking prevails,” the Reynoldses said in a statement Saturday.

Grant Curtis, former president of the SHARE Mountain Bike Club, which maintains the single-track riding trails in Orange County, said the family’s “lawsuit was well-intentioned, just not completely informed.”

“We asked [Dona Reynolds] collectively as a group… to drop the lawsuit, knowing that we understand the risks involved in the sport,” Curtis said. Reynolds’ death was the state’s sixth recorded mountain lion fatality.