Watch out, Curbediverse, sledding might soon be illegal. A story from the Associated Press reports that faced with potential lawsuits from sledding injuries, a growing number of U.S. cities have decided to close sledding hills rather than risk liability claims. The latest city to ban winter fun is Dubuque, Iowa, where the City Council plans to prohibit sledding in all but two of its 50 parks. So why won't kids be able to careen head first down a mountain on tiny rockets of metal or plastic? Cities fear the crippling consequences of sledding lawsuits. A $2 million judgment against Omaha, Nebraska occurred after a five year old girl was paralyzed sledding, and Sioux City, Iowa was forced to pay $2.75 million after a man hit a sign and injured his spinal cord.
Fears of big lawsuits and big payouts mean that even cities who don't want to ban sledding are looking for ways to reduce their liability. Cities in New Jersey, Iowa, Indiana, and Nebraska have banned sledding on certain slopes or posted signs warning people to sled at their own risk. In Washington, D.C., the law mandates that children under the age of 16 wear helmets when sledding.
Even proponents of the sledding bans acknowledge that the prohibition will be difficult to enforce. The city of Omaha tried to ban sledding one winter, but residents returned to the popular hill anyway and the city stopped trying to enforce the rule.
What do you think Curbediverse? Will we soon live in a sled-free society?
· Which U.S. Cities Are Banning Sledding? [City Lab]
· Liability concerns prompt some cities to limit sledding [AP]
· Mapping the Best Community Ski Hills in the West [Curbed Ski]
· Why the Death of the Ski Bum Will Ruin Ski Towns Everywhere [Curbed Ski]
· The Countries With the Most Ski Areas, On One Handy Map [Curbed Ski]
· Itchin' For a Snow Day? Here's What it Takes to Cancel School [Curbed Ski]