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PSA: Sled Now, While You Still Can
Did you know there are some towns out there that have <em>banned</em> sledding due to liability issues?</br></br>A recent <a title="Chicago Tribune" href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-sledding-liability-midwest-frozen-lawsuit-edit-0111-jm-20150109-story.html" target="_blank">article in the <em>Chicago Tribune</em></a> laments the growing trend, which appears to be slowly creeping across once-free America like so much winter rot. It’s an inexcusable infringement on civil liberties, at the very least, and there’s only thing anyone can do about it:</br></br>Go sledding – today, even, if you can find a hill with snow on it.</br></br>But wait, maybe there <em>is</em> something we can do. A couple ideas:</br></br><strong>To Sledders: Acknowledge that sledding is risky and take responsibility.</strong></br></br>In discussing the same topic, <a title="CBS News" href="http://www.cbsnews.com/news/why-sledding-is-on-a-slippery-slope/" target="_blank">CBS News reports</a> that nearly 230,000 kids have been involved in sledding-related accidents between 1997 and 2007. Common-sense translation: Sledding can be dangerous, and anyone who sleds (or lets their kids sled) should be willing to accept it without the need of a scapegoat.</br></br>Further, the legal defense in torts known as “assumption of risk” <em>obliges</em> a person to acknowledge the danger. In less fancy terms, this defense allows otherwise innocent entities (like towns with snowy hills) to combat liability claims by people who think they’re entitled to payment for taking known risks.</br></br>So, you know, if you're thinking about suing a whole town of innocent taxpayers because you "forgot" sledding is dangerous – try and keep that in mind.</br></br><strong>To Towns: Put up signs on your hills!</strong></br></br>Pretty much every apartment pool in America has a sign that goes something like this: NO LIFEGUARD ON DUTY! SWIM AT YOUR OWN RISK.</br></br>Just substitute “swim” with “sled” and you're well on your way to avoiding a lawsuit. As added protection against the old “little kids can’t read” gambit, put a sled with a skull-and-crossbones symbol on there. That should send a clear message. (NOTE: This is <em>not</em> legal advice; merely a suggestion.)</br></br>At the end of the day, the very best thing all of us can do is to get out and sled. Sled like there’s no tomorrow because, as crazy and sad as it may be, sledding on your favorite hill may be illegal tomorrow.