Iowa Lawmakers Mull Bill to Restrict Sledding Lawsuits

February 8, 2013

Children could soon sled down some public property without stressing out city managers under a bill approved Tuesday by a Iowa State House committee.

The legislation would limit the liability if someone was injured on city property designed and designated for sledding. Sponsor Rep. Chip Baltimore, R-Boone, said the law wouldn’t remove all liability.

“What we’re hoping to achieve is provide one more tool to help cities feel comfortable to let sledding take place in public areas,” Baltimore said. ‘”It protects the city for being sued for the risks inherent in the activity.”

If approved, the legislation would add sledding to a list of activities that cities are not liable for on designated city grounds due to their risky nature. Those activities include skateboarding, in-line skating, bicycling and canoeing.

“Oftentimes the mere threat of liability or being sued is enough for cities to take a look at things and say we won’t allow it,” Baltimore said.

Baltimore said the bill encourages cities to investigate safety standards for sledding hills and said that if cities put up something dangerous on a hill, like a barricade of some kind, then they could still be liable.

The bill is expected to now be debated by the full House.

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