Thursday, December 18, 2008
The Honor System
This past weekend I ventured out to the little town of Smithville to a mountain biking park. I had read about it on the web and it seemed like a cool adventure. I arrived there Sunday around 1 p.m. and the parking lot was active with a dozen other cyclists gearing up. I saw a large sign that said "Sign In Here". I entered this little shack where a table had waiver forms and maps to the park. I signed the brief waiver and stood waiting for a staff person to appear to take my form and money. After ten minutes I walked outside to see if I could locate anyone. After concluding that the staff were busy elsewhere, I asked a fellow rider where they were. He said, "No one is here. It's the honor system. Just place your form and money in that metal box." I was a little surprised. I haven't heard those words "honor system" for quite some time. After putting my money in the box, I started to think how interesting that was. I did sign a waiver that said that they were not liable when I collide head on with a tree and break my neck. But, shouldn't someone be there to make sure I sign the form and that I am who I say I am? And shouldn't someone be there to make sure I pay? Well, I guess not. My "business" side of the brain thought what a risk that was this day and age with all of the "not my fault, your fault" litigation. The park has been operating for years. Maybe there's something to say for the honor system. Maybe in the rare occasion of an accident, participants in THIS system realize that accidents are accidents and that we are all personally responsible for our own actions. We don't need a ten page waiver form to define this for us. The honor system might just bring honor out in all of us.