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Dubuque, Iowa, City Council Bans Sledding In Most City Parks

This story seems appropriate today, given the weather: The Dubuque, Iowa, City Council voted Monday night to ban sledding in all but two parks in the city.

KCRG-TV reports that council members were not happy to pass the ordinance, but did so out of concern about liability issues. The station reports:

"City leaders say the rules will help protect Dubuque from any lawsuits should a sledder get hurt.

"Council members urged people who are upset about the ban, to contact Iowa state lawmakers.

"Iowa law protects cities from liability in the event someone gets hurt on city property while biking, skating or skateboarding. But there's no protection if someone gets hurt while sledding. Some lawmakers attempted to fix that during the 2013 legislative session, but the bill failed."

KCRG-TV reports that a first time offender will be given a warning. A repeat offender could face a $750 fine.

In a story over the weekend, The Associated Press noted that other municipalities have taken similar steps. It reported:

"Some cities have opted for less drastic measures in the last several years rather than an all-out ban, including Des Moines, Iowa; Montville, New Jersey; Lincoln, Nebraska; and Columbia City, Indiana. By banning sledding on certain slopes or posting signs warning people to sled at their own risk, cities lessen their liability if someone is seriously hurt, but they're still more vulnerable to lawsuits than if they had adopted an outright ban."

In its take, Newsweek starts its piece by saying: Sledding is dangerous. It points to a recent study by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital that found that more than 20,000 children a year end up at the hospital because of sledding accidents.

But, NBC News reminds us, other childhood activities are a lot more dangerous by that measure: "About 275,000 kids suffer non-fatal bicycle injuries each year, according to the National Safe Kids USA campaign. About 82,000 kids are treated for trampoline injuries, and about 61,000 kids are hurt skateboarding."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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