Nanny State

In Joyless Nanny State Called America, Government Prohibits Sledding


Böhringer / Wikimedia Commons

Don't have too much fun. In fact, don't have any fun. You could hurt yourself! That's the thinking of all too many government entities these days—and it's why local officials are increasingly likely to shut down the neighborhood sledding hill.

According to the Associated Press, sledding prohibitions are more and more common:

No one tracks how many cities have banned or limited sledding, but the list grows every year. One of the latest is in Dubuque, Iowa, where the City Council is moving ahead with a plan to ban sledding in all but two of its 50 parks.

"We have all kinds of parks that have hills on them," said Marie Ware, Dubuque's leisure services manager. "We can't manage the risk at all of those places."

In the bureaucrat's defense, government is not solely responsible for all the fun-killing. When kids get hurt, their parents sue, and these liability concerns have made it too costly for local authorities to run the risk.

Shifting societal attitudes have played a role as well, according to the AP:

Most people realize that cities must restrict potentially dangerous activities to protect people and guard against costly lawsuits, said Kenneth Bond, a New York lawyer who represents local governments. In the past, people might have embraced a Wild West philosophy of individuals being solely responsible for their actions, but now they expect government to prevent dangers whenever possible.

"It's a great idea on the frontier, but we don't live on the frontier anymore," Bond said.

It seems to me there is some comfortable room between the Wild West frontier of days past and the bubble-wrapped nanny state we live in now. Perhaps the government could protect our basic safety needs while still allowing for a bit of winter fun?

For more on the subject of overprotective parenting via the state, check out Lenore Skenazy's archive.

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  1. “It’s a great idea on the frontier, but we don’t live on the frontier anymore,” Bond said.

    So what?


      1. Oh bother, FYATHYRIOTW

        1. Giddy-up!

  2. “We can’t manage the risk at all of those places.”

    Neatly summarizes the nanny mindset in one sentence.

    1. I can’t manage to continue living in a country where the inmates are in charge of the asylum.

    2. I don’t see that as a nanny mindset at all…I see that as a fiscally disciplined mindset. Property requires liability insurance…allowing people to engage in potentially dangerous activities on your property raises your premiums and invites lawsuits.

      As others have said, it’s not a nanny state problem…it’s a tort reform problem, and since taxpayers are the ones who get stuck with the costs of the premiums, I’m fine with cities reducing costs by telling litigious parents to take responsibility for their spawn’s entertainment.

      It certainly sucks, especially for the kids, but until the courts and legislators find a way to effectively punish vexatious litigators, that’s just tough shit. If parents are unhappy with that, they need to start voting for legislators and judges who’ll address the problem. If kids are unhappy with that, then they’ll learn an important lesson about government early on. If neither the parents nor the kids learn anything from it, fuck ’em…it’s a reward in itself when stupid people are deprived of unhappiness.

      1. Deprived of happiness, I meant.

      2. It’s a female voter/jury member problem.

        What man would decide that a city should be liable for someone’s injury when that someone voluntarily rode a sled down a snow-covered hill owned by the city?

        1. What man? The man who wants to make a quick buck with his lawyer, that’s who.

      3. It’s also a skyrocketing-cost-of-health-care problem. My son fractured his wrist a couple of years ago, and the total bill for that topped $1,500. Maybe back in the good old non-litigated-to-death days, even adjusted for inflation, it would’ve been a fraction of the cost. But I can see why some families would want to sue because Junior’s broken arm took a huge chunk of their life savings. It’s gonna take tort reform, health care reform AND less nanny-state-minded citizens to undo this mess.


    In meetings leading up to the ban, Dubuque council members lamented the move but said it was the only responsible choice given liability concerns and demands from the city’s insurance carrier. They pointed to judgments in sledding lawsuits in the past decade, such as a $2 million judgment against Omaha, Nebraska, after a 5-year-old girl was paralyzed when she hit a tree and a $2.75 million payment when a man in Sioux City, Iowa, slid into a sign and injured his spinal cord.

    This is not a nanny-state problem. This is a tort-reform problem.

    1. It’s both, regardless of which came first, the nanny government or the soccer mom.

      1. Bullshit. I won’t let the neighborhood kids ride ATVs or snowmobiles across my 1 acre property. It is purely because I won’t accept the liability.

        1. Look up your state’s landowner recreational use exemption.

          1. And calculate how much you will have to pay your lawyer to win based on that exemption after you are sued.

          2. http://sustainablefarmlease.or…..v-stewart/

            The Court examines the issue of whether recreational use statutes are intended to apply to any users of the property or whether they’re intended to only apply if the land is made available to all members of the public. The Court certainly appears to favor the view that such laws only apply if the owner opens the land to the general public. In discussing the issue, the Court references a previous Iowa Supreme Court case (Peterson v. Schwertley, 460 N.W.2d 469 (1990)) in which the Court held the statute does apply to property that is not open to the public. The Court is very critical of the earlier case and says that extending the statutory protections to property not open to the public defeats the purposes of the statute. However, while critical of giving the protection of the statute to land not open to the public, the Court expressly states that it is not confronting whether Peterson is good law.

            Though its worth noting the Court did not overturn Peterson and the law still applies whether the land is open to the general public or not, the Court’s opinion leaves this a tenuous matter. Again, a list of the practical implications of this case is discussed below, and it should be again emphasized that consultation with your attorney and insurance provider is critical.

            I feel so much better now 😉

            1. The “Court” is populated by INSANE pseudo-humans.

    2. “This is a tort-reform problem.”


      1. ^This

    3. How about a law that says that if someone puts up a “sled at your own risk” sign, then you sled at your own risk?

      1. Wouldn’t that just make you more culpable? You knew there was a risk to anyone sledding there, so you put up the sign.

        I thought that was why you never put up a “Beware of Dog” sign. It can be used to demonstrate you knew the dog was dangerous.

        1. Like an article I read talking about fucked up liability where you could be sued if someone slipped on the sidewalk in front of your home if you had shoveled it under the theory that you did a bad job.

          While not shoveling it would most likely leave liability with the city.

          1. While not shoveling it would most likely leave liability with the city.

            Not in my city. We have laws that require shoveling.

        2. Sledding is inherently risky, so I don’t think so. I’d see such a sign as implicitly stating that if you do sled here, you accept the risk and agree not to hold me liable. “At your own risk” implies “not at my risk”. Perhaps it should be more explicit.

          In a more sane world, the sign shouldn’t even be necessary. Any idiot knows that when you sled or do pretty much any outdoor activity, you might get hurt and if you do it’s your own damn problem.

          1. How about a sign that says
            “if you sled you will be injured and it will be your fault for sledding. the owner of the property is not responsible for your injuries”
            would that be clear enough

            1. Clearer still is: “Get off my fucking lawn.”

              1. Sign in my MOther’s yard:

                Trespassers will be shot.
                Survivors will be shot again.

                1. Actual written consent forms don’t get you out of liability in those situations. A sign simply doesn’t matter. It wouldn’t stop a lawsuit at all.

        3. Actually, in Florida law, a “Bad Dog” sign can absolve one of liability:

          “However, the owner is not liable, except as to a person under the age of 6, or unless the damages are proximately caused by a negligent act or omission of the owner, if at the time of any such injury the owner had displayed in a prominent place on his or her premises a sign easily readable including the words “Bad Dog.” FS ?767.04

  4. I’m glad I got a hill in the backyard.

  5. The war cry of the nannies: “This isn’t the Wild West anymore!”

    1. [Looks around yard. Identifies where (a) coyotes (b) bobcats (c) javelina (d) mule deer and (e) rattlesnakes have all been spotted. Pulls up photos of two (2) mountain lions in backyard. Wonders how it would have been different in the Wild West.]

      1. There would have been snow?

      2. How many arrows have you dodged?

      3. Different action on the rifle/pistol that shot said animals.

      4. The jackalopes are now extinct?

        1. Killed off by sleds, so yes.

      5. everyone had an Italian accent?

        1. Spanish accent. Mostly they were filmed in Spain with Spanish actors. Just directed/produced by Italians.

      6. You’d have been allowed to gambol

      7. You’d been allowed to pay a whore 2 bits for services rendered.

  6. It seems to me there is some comfortable room between the Wild West frontier of days past and the bubble-wrapped nanny state we live in now.

    Lenore, once you accept that there is any room for a nanny state relieving people of responsibility for their own actions, I don’t think you can easily or permanently call a stop partway down the slippery slope. I say that mostly because of history.

    1. You can call for a stop, but it is lunacy to expect a bureaucracy to stop at a non lunatic point.

  7. must restrict potentially dangerous activities

    Better shutdown those basketball and softball games then!

    1. They will, give them time.

  8. All states have a recreational use of land liability exemption law. If you open your land for free recreational use by the public, you’re not responsible if someone steps into a chuckhole.

    Ours in PA covers political subdivisions, so you can’t win money from the city if your kids falls off the swingset at the park. But you can sue and lose, which does cost money for government to defend.

    Maybe the state needs to strengthen their law. Or maybe this is the easier way out–just banning it.

    1. Maybe the state needs to strengthen their law.

      Indeed. Make a mandatory loser pays provision for any lawsuit dismissed under these exemptions. And make both the plaintiff and their lawyer responsible for paying it.

      1. Just the lawyer. 😉

    2. OK, here is my very naive question.

      Why would you have to defend against someone suing you when the law clearly says you are not liable? Can’t you just go to court and point out that the law says you are not liable?

      I had the same question when Mr. Non-Sheepfucker was suing Reason. I just can’t fathom how they had to spend a cent on defending themselves against such an absurd and clearly merit-less suit.

      1. Going to court and pointing out the law says you are not liable is known as “defending.”

        1. I mean, spend money on a lawyer, I guess. Why can’t you just go and say “judge, this is clearly bullshit” yourself?

          1. You can, but your insurance company will disavow you.

            1. Then they can pay for the fucking lawyer.

              1. They offer to, but if you say “no, that’s fucking stupid, I’m going to go in by myself and show the judge this statute and I fully expect it to not cost either of us anything because it’s a fucking stupid threat,” they say “how noble of you. Sign here that we are not liable for this decision, please.”

      2. Why would you have to defend against someone suing you when the law clearly says you are not liable? Can’t you just go to court and point out that the law says you are not liable?

        Going to court and pointing out, etc. is defending yourself. And, unless you are foolish enough to do it pro se, is going to cost you.

        1. Yes, I shoudl have said “pay to defend yourself”. I don’t see why it would be foolish to do it pro se if the case against you is clearly without merit. What do you have to say besides “the law says I am not liable”?

          1. What do you have to say besides “the law says I am not liable”?

            Because the judge can always say “Fuck you that’s why”.

            1. And he will, unless the specific way you said it and all the specific steps leading up to that are in proper legal format, with the correct citations, case law, and other time-consuming (read: “billable”) stuff.

            2. Why doesn’t the judge say that to the person bringing the stupid suit?

              1. Because, the exemption isn’t absolute. And the plaintiff’s attorney is going to argue that you did something that exempted you from the exemption. And if you don’t have smarter lawyer, the judge is going to tell you FYTW.

              2. The plaintiff can hire an attorney on contingency. The defendant cannot.

              3. The judges actually can say that.

                My uncle, a doctor, was the defendant in a frivolous lawsuit from another physician whose hospital privileges were yanked (the doctor was incompetent and had a side business running a pill mill, swapping drugs for money or sex). My uncle was on the hospital’s board and went through the entire procedure to have the other doctor’s credentials yanked…everything done correctly. So the doctor sued my uncle, the judge determined early on that it was a frivolous lawsuit and forced the doctor’s attorney to pay my uncle’s attorney’s fees.

                Most judges won’t do that, however, because they don’t want to piss off people they might have to work with in the future or who might hire them if they ever lose their job…because that’s what an incestuous little community our justice system can be.

              4. Q: What do you call an attorney with an IQ of 50?

                A: “Your Honor”.

                Judges are almost always lawyers.You can have a good pro se litigant and a bad attorney make essentially the same argument, and the judge will patronize the former and defer to the latter. It sucks. But that’s the way it is. It’s a rare judge who can pull his head our of his own ass long enough to actually listen to a reasoned argument that’s not presented in familiar form.

      3. There’s a good year’s worth of discovery, depositions, expert witnesses, formal legal opinions, declarations, and other tortuous stuff before you even glimpse a judge, much less get the chance to say, “That’s bullshit.” And if you didn’t do every single one of those steps properly, you lose, even if the law is on your side.

        It all costs money. Lots of money. Only solution: loser pays. If loser can’t pay, loser’s lawyer pays.

        1. Yeah, I guess loser pays is the solution.

          1. It’s the solution to one problem, but the cause of another. Suppose you’re a small farmer and some huge freaking company comes up with a genetically-altered seed which it sells to the farmer next door. The pollen from their crop wafts across the border between the two fields and pollutes your crop. Since you normally use a portion of your own crop for seed the next year, you are now making use of the company’s patented genetic alterations, and the company sues you.

            Now you have maybe $50,000 in savings. The company is a $20 billion entity with a staff of 100 lawyers ready, willing and able to litigate for the rest of the 21st century. They’re going to put ten million dollars into going after you.

            Slo long after you run out of money, long after the case has been dismissed because you can no longer pursue it, you get a bill from Monsan… I mean, the company for $1 million. And guess what? Loser pays.

            1. Now you have maybe $50,000 in savings. The company is a $20 billion entity with a staff of 100 lawyers ready, willing and able to litigate for the rest of the 21st century. They’re going to put ten million dollars into going after you.

              Sounds to me like Monsant… I mean, the company, is stupidly allotting/spending $10M and a legal team to squeezing $50K of blood from a stone over what would otherwise amount to some, nominally, $10-25K in damages.

              That argument requires lots of stupid companies, judges, and lawyers to be a real concern. I believe in stupid judges, corrupt judges, and shady lawyers. I have trouble worrying about all three on a mass scale as an ethical policy decision. That is, hard cases make for bad law.

              1. Er, stupid companies, corrupt judges, and shady lawyers.

              2. Unless the goal is to make an example for you so 1000 other people roll over. I think this is a valid concern regarding pure loser pays. Perhaps plaintiff pays when they lose makes more sense and include some massive punitive damages assessed against both the attorney and plaintiff for suits deemed frivolous. The real problem seems to be that people are anxious to buy a ticket in the judicial lottery. We should make those malevolent decisions risky.

                1. read “example of you” not “for you” need an edit button.

        2. I’m all aboard with “loser pays,” but there’s a larger systemic problem that these suits even go forward to the “pay” stage at all.

          If the city didn’t force you to sled down that hill, and the city didn’t intentionally put something on the hill that made it more dangerous (i.e. setting up a coil of barbed wire at the bottom of the hill), then your “case” should go right in the trash. It should never get to court, and the only money that should change hands is the fee you pay to file the case, before it’s chucked.

          The other systemic problem, of course, is the sheer and exponentially rising numbers of sniveling pansy-asses in America who help the government maintain the illusion that life can–and is supposed to be–risk-free, and that when something bad happens, you can always make someone else pay for it.

          1. “sniveling pansy-asses in America” – it’s the “pussification” of America.

            Generally, a trivial, baseless case can be dismissed early on. Doesn’t mean you don’t have to defend. You file a motion for summary judgement, the court looks at all the facts in a light most favorable to the non-moving party, and if the law still says, “These idiots can’t sue!”, you win your case. In theory.

            Often when there are substantial injuries, the court doesn’t do its job as well because of the “sympathy” factor – that being, if the plaintiff is tossed out on their ear, it means there’s no help for them… whether they deserve any or not.

  9. Most people realize that cities must restrict potentially dangerous activities to protect people . . .

    You know – I always hate when the say this.

    1. Its not the government’s place to protect people from themselves.
    2. I’d have more respect for your decision if you were just flat out honest about the reasons why.

    . . . guard against costly lawsuits . . .

    I had to deal with two decades of people telling me I can’t do this or that ‘for my own safety’ when it was really ‘some of our people can’t handle themselves and do things that embarrass our service and damage my chances at getting that star’.

    1. Most people realize that cities must restrict potentially dangerous activities to protect people…

      5 points to the first person who identifies which type of fallacy this is a variation of!

      1. Bandwagon fallacy

  10. So I’m a fool? Last time the family and I went sledding, the boy and I went off a jump and in the crash I managed to bite through my bottom lip.

    I guess I should have sued someone for putting up such a great hill instead of going to the ER and getting a bunch of stitches. Why didn’t I realize that I was a victim of The Man (it was actually on school property) instead of just thinking I was a doofus who can’t stay on a sled after a catching some air?

    Maybe I could still sue the school district I grew up in for not teaching me the basics of civil life in the US of A?

    1. In Nanny US, hill sleds on you.

  11. Most people realize that cities must restrict potentially dangerous activities to protect people and guard against costly lawsuits, said Kenneth Bond, a New York lawyer who represents local governments. In the past, people might have embraced a Wild West philosophy of individuals being solely responsible for their actions, but now they expect government to prevent dangers whenever possible.

    I’m glad this is being pointed out. And I still vehemently disagree with the “libertarian” bloke you interviewed a couple years ago saying that the lawsuit is THE preeminent libertarian solution. That it effectuates change without the need for regulation.

    1. the “libertarian” bloke you interviewed a couple years ago saying that the lawsuit is THE preeminent libertarian solution.

      So long as lawsuits are restricted to (a)restitution for (b) actual harm inflicted on you by a third party, it is. Or, at least, its vastly superior to direct state regulation.

      That’s not the tort system we have (anymore), unfortunately.

      1. Yeah, it’s that whole “punitive damages” thing that is out of control.

        An easy solution would be to limit punitive damages to a certain % of the cost of making the plaintiff whole (medical expenses, etc.). So if you had $100k in medical expenses as a result of negligence, then you could restrict punitive to, say, 5% or 10% of the $100k.

        1. But there are situations where large punitive damages are appropriate.

          1. Yeah, ones where the actual damages are also large. If the actual damages are small (say, a $500 doctor’s fee for being burned by hot coffee), why should punitive damages be in the millions?

            If the actual damages are in the billions, then the punitive damages would be higher.

            Hell, you could even make punitive damages not to exceed 100% of actual damages and you’d be doing better than we are today in the tort system.

            1. My understanding is that the reason is that small punitive damages don’t really do much to discourage the behavior. Taking your coffee example, if there was only 5-10 cases a year where the company had to pay out an extra $100, the company would make no effort to change its behavior.

              1. In a lot of these cases, though, there really isn’t any grossly negligent behavior to discourage. Like with the coffee example. Coffee is gonna be hot. Even without large punitive damages, a company might just lower the temp of its coffee to discourage further lawsuits (and further legal fees). The company has to pay out way more than an extra $100, especially if a suit goes to a jury.

                When you’re talking BP Gulf oil spill level, the actual damages are huge (and also much harder to determine), so the punitive damages would be equally huge and would definitely discourage BP (and by extension BP’s competitors) from further safety violations.

              2. But, on the other hand, if there are only 5-10 case a year where the damages reach $100, does the company *need* to change its behavior?

            2. Note in the coffee one, medical bills were a couple million (multiple surgeries as coffee was being consumable temperatures).

              But let’s say they amputate the wrong arm, but don’t charge you and it doesn’t negatively affect your income?

              0 * .10 = ….

              Sure, it’s an extreme example, but the fact punitive damages may be abused isn’t really an argument to limiting them, as the idea of limiting punitive damages devalues the entire reason punitive damages exist: to punish.

              They are not supposed to be fair nor would they be punitive if tied/limited to some predetermined limit by others.

          2. I don’t know much about the law. But if punishment is required in addition to compensatory damages, isn’t that what criminal suits are for? Why should *punitive* damages be part of a *civil* tort?

        2. Most states do limit punitive damages – even if not uniformly or formally. Three times actual damages is more-or-less the norm.

          “Actual” damages are to make the plaintiff “whole”.
          “Punitive” damages are purely to punish the defendant. In a case like the tobacco cases, HUGE punitive damages were in order, not because cigarettes are dangerous and kill people, but because the cigarette companies told everyone that cigarettes were harmless (or even GOOD for you!), when they KNEW otherwise. It’s not much different from a stage manager telling an actor who is about to shoot another actor in a play that the gun is a “prop” gun that is loaded with blanks, when he knows in fact that it’s a .357 magnum loaded with hollow-points.

  12. “We can’t manage the risk at all of those places.”

    Probably a sign that the government has too many places.

    1. Sure, I agree. But should the poor have a place to sled or not? And if that place isn’t the local park, then where is it? I’m a Libertarian, and it seems to me that the Nanny-State Fetishists and the Anarchists/Randians are in agreement here: only those rich enough to own their own hill should be allowed to enjoy the simple joy of sledding; everyone else can just suck it.

  13. I can sort of see the park dept having liability if their is a hill deliberately maintained for sledding but if somebody just finds a hill and uses it? What kind of insane jury gives an award in that circumstance?

    1. A jury composed of people who think a settlement is just a write off for the insurance company. These people think that there is just a giant pool of money out there that is going to be paid out without any consequences to anyone.

      They look at the kid in the wheel chair and wonder how they are going to cope without some huge settlement, so they give it to them. Because who can vote against a crippled kid?

    2. I can sort of see the park dept having liability if their is a hill deliberately maintained for sledding

      I can’t if you have a strong “assumption of risk” doctrine.

      Perhaps, just maybe, if its maintained negligently in a way that poses hidden dangers that are unusual for a sledding hill. But, c’mon, how often is that going to happen?

      1. Agreed, I am not sure what would constitute improper maintenance on something that does not include some structure or equipment like a toboggan run or tow rope.

        1. How about a hidden pit at the end of the run? Or concrete posts? Or, as has been mentioned, barbed wire?

          Under most tort law, the duty of a land owner to a trespasser is to warn of “traps”.

  14. Our old neighbors were from Switzerland and the first year they moved in they put in a swingset with a slide, a low trampoline and an above ground pool.

    The arranged it so that kids could climb to the top of the slide then jump off onto the trampoline and into the pool.

    All of us neighbors told them the same thing, “That is really, really cool. Too bad you are going to be sued.”

    Luckily no one ever did sue them (even though there were a few mishaps). They did run afoul of their insurance company though, when the company noticed the pool and trampoline in some pictures they had submitted showing hail damage to their siding. The insurance company told them that since they had such a dangerous yard they should have been paying more for their coverage.

    1. When Euros (albeit Swiss ones!) have a healthier attitude toward risk…

      1. I have been surprised at how much better it is in most of Europe than it is here.

      2. The first Swiss couple that lived there really skewed our neighborhood’s perception of the Swiss. The husband was a good guy, but the wife was like Martha Stewart on steroids.

        She made fresh bread each morning. She didn’t let her kids watch much TV. She organized plays and other neighborhood parties on a regular basis.

        When they moved back to Switzerland, they rented their house to several other Swiss couples who moved to the area to work for the same multi-national company.

        None of the subsequent Swiss women held a candle to the original. They were perplexed as to why the rest of us thought that they would be organizing a Halloween costume parade on our street.

        So maybe the attitude towards risk was just as off kilter as their attitude towards everything else.

  15. If you don’t get seriously injured while sledding you’re doing it wrong.

    1. It is impossible to like this comment enough. Literally, as there is no like button on the Reason comment board.

    2. If you don’t risk get seriously injured while sledding you’re doing it wrong.

      I’ll buy that version.

      1. yeah that is probably better

    3. Amen!

      That is why sledding should be a kids’ activity. When they flip off the sled and cartwheel down the slope, they are still limber enough that they will heal up in a couple days.

      As an adult the same Wide World of Sports Agony of Defeat spill will lay you up for weeks.

      1. I used to watch that intro every week.

      2. One year I horribly wrenched my back while sledding. It was extremely painful and I could barely move, but the worst part was not being able to sled anymore that day.

    4. My cousin Jeff almost lost his eye due to a tubing mishap. Had to have surgeries and all. Surprisingly, I don’t remember his family suing anybody…
      They lived in Wisconsin: blond haired, blue-eyed, etc. Gorgeous people. But the best part? The VERY best part? Their family name is “Nitche”, which I’d bet is the Americanized version of something or other.

  16. Ultimately, we can’t have real liberty AND protect people from the consequences of their stupid/unlucky choices. We can either let people do risky stuff + accept the risks or we can (try to) stop people from taking risks. Long term, we can’t afford to let people take risks *and* compensate them when they get hurt. We have been doing both for a while, and it has bankrupted the world’s greatest economy. 18.3 trillion national debt. Most states insolvent. Many cities and counties and parishes and boroughs are insolvent. Yet, when G.M. and wall street banks go bankrupt, we bail them out. Try to change it. Tell people: (just for example) “pay all your own medical bills.” 75% of women will starting crying, 40% of men will leave the room, and the policy will remain. Say: “You can be whatever gender/orientation you want, but why not pay for your own sex-change operations?” They’ll start a protest march, calling you a hateful bigot. hey hey ho ho homophobe has got to go!!

    1. This would be a good place for the Billy Madison speech.

      1. That’s an Adam Sandler movie, right?

  17. my friend’s sister makes $68 an hour on the laptop . She has been without work for 10 months but last month her check was $21549 just working on the laptop for a few hours. browse this site……….

  18. This is all moot. Because of Global Warming, there won’t be any more snow.

    1. we will just put wheels on our sleds. we used to sit in our radio flyer wagon and roll down any hill we could find equally dangerous at intersections since we had no real brakes but our feet.

      1. Back in the 1980’s (yes, children, that magical time REALLY existed!), we’d sit on cheap plastic skateboards and slalom down Shalimar Dr., a street with something like a 12:12 pitch. Man, we must of hit 30 MPH with nothing but our sneakers and Tuff Skin butts to slow us down!

  19. Lawyers and liberals are always taking the joy out of life.

    1. Don’t forget about socons.

  20. a little immunity would go a long way

  21. Ironically, sledding is probably still legal in the streets of those municipalities, and then you’re in traffic.

  22. In a world without Lawyers, this would not be a problem.

  23. “When kids get hurt, their parents sue, and these liability concerns have made it too costly for local authorities to run the risk.”

    Hi Robby,

    I thought this was the libertarian ideal. We don’t need government regulations because people have the ability to redress grievances in court. But now that I see the reflexive right-wing sentiment about lawyers I’m left wondering exactly what libertarians believe or what they would do to control corporate behavior that puts their workers, customers, or neighbors in danger.

    1. american socialist|1.5.15 @ 3:48PM|#
      “Hi Robby,
      I thought this was the libertarian ideal.”

      Hi, asshole,
      Of course you “thought” that; you’re a lefty ignoramus!
      Pay your mortgage yet? Still licking mass murderer ass?

    2. What grievance is there to be redressed when someone of their own free will climbs a hill, slides down it, and breaks their face running into a tree.

      1. Shrugs. Some people have different tolerance for sleights. Suing people is a problem for libertarians. That’s not what I’ve been told when I tell people here about the FDA.

        1. american socialist|1.5.15 @ 6:53PM|#

          Lefty ignoramus is confused!

    3. It’s actually a fair point.

      Thing is that all the liability and litigation isn’t meant to be a permanent state of affairs, it’s supposed to be an intermediate means of evolving rules that work so they slowly become informal (common) law. For instance, eventually, we ought to arrive at a state where if someone slips on your sidewalk, you just pay them $500 and don’t bother with the legal fees, although everyone has the option of going to court, hardly anyone does it because the precedents are so firmly established that everyone knows what the outcome will be in advance.

      I would hope the outcome of the sledding situation would be that if you’re using your own sled, the city isn’t liable for anything.

      1. HazelMeade|1.5.15 @ 8:20PM|#
        “It’s actually a fair point.”

        Disagreed; there are hundreds of privately-owned ski resorts.
        It’s one of those “gov’t regs put us 5 runs down in the bottom of the 9th, now how can the free market save us?” You hit on the solution below; gov’t-owned parks means there is no direct interest in solving the tort issue.
        The cause of the problem is the gov’t ownership of the parks, the tort issue is the result.

  24. I never quite got the fun of sledding down a hill.
    After going down you’d have to trudge back up it.

    What we did instead was hitch a saucer sled to the back of our 3-wheeled ATV.
    Lots of trees in the back yard, so we occasionally had to bail off the sled which itself was kind of fun, so long as you didn’t get snow down your neck.

  25. It’s simple: Just make put the parks under the control of the police. That way, anytime someone is seriously injured or killed, there won’t be any liability.

  26. I used to ice-skate on city-park ponds and we played hockey. I’ll bet that doesn’t happen any more.

    1. Does libertarianism mean complaining about how things were better in the old days? Maybe I should tell my crazy uncle……..grams.html

      1. american socialist|1.5.15 @ 6:49PM|#
        “Does libertarianism mean complaining about how things were better in the old days? Maybe I should tell my crazy uncle…”

        Hi, dipshit!
        Libertarianism means pointing out how the tragedy of the commons screws people, but that’s beyond ignorant lefty assholes like you.
        Pay your mortgage yet? Was it better in the old days when your fave murderer starved millions?

  27. I love Reason, but there is a lot of whining here about the “Nanny State” as if regulation is the core of the problem. Sure, there is some ninny, nanny tied to these ridiculous laws, but a big part of all of this is legal issues. Cities ban things like sledding because they are worried that they are going to get sued. And from a risk standpoint, these regulations start to make sense from a simply financial point of view. If we fix the sue for everything problem, we will see much less of these stupid rules.

    1. See HM, below, 7:09.

  28. It’s what happens when you let women vote.

    Seriously, how many men do you think were calling for this? How many women?

    As a group, women have always been willing to trade freedom for (the illusion of) safety/security. Given a vote, it stands to reason they’d try to implement “safety at any cost” type rules. Even if it makes life not worth living.

  29. There ought to be some sort of liability waiver, so people who WANT to sled can accept the risks and do so.

    Problem is there is no way to police who has signed and who hasn’t without policing.

    The alternative, of course, is to have private parks, where the owners police who uses it.

    1. Great idea! The best part about having privately owned snow parks is that when someone says “But what about ROADDDZZZZ?!?” You can say, “we don’t need ’em, cuz SLEDZ!”

      1. Another alternative might be to pass a law, probably by ballot initiative, declaring that the city is not liable for injuries that occur due to sledding in public parks (among other things). Not sure if this law would hold up at higher courts, but it might stand a better chance if it’s by plebescite.

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  31. Put up signs that say “Slide at Your OWN Risk”

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  34. At my kids’ school, there is a box of sleds near the door to the playground all winter long and they can sled every day at recess. In kindergarten, their teachers taught them to bail out if their sled if they ended up accidentally (or on purpose) heading towards the driveway. There is the occasional nurse visit (there’s the occasional nurse visit on the most sunny of days…they’re kids — they get hurt) but they only call if they’re injured enough that they need to be picked up. To date, no one’s been seriously injured sledding.

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  36. Step 1) Use extorted money to by land, preferably with hills.
    Step 2) Spruce up land with extorted money.
    Step 3) Announce land is open for use – assumed to be fun and frivolity.
    Step 4) Prohibit anybody from doing anything whatsoever on the land.

    In combination with

    Step 1) Get a law degree.
    Step 2) Vote in litigious minded pols to appoint broad tort defining judges.
    Step 3) Sue anybody with a heartbeat for anything whatsoever.

  37. For crying out loud! Kids need to be kids… let them sleigh ride down the hills… post a sign… at your own risk… this is absurd and stupid… I guess they’d rather see these kids glued to their video games, cell phones and couches, getting fat and weak!!!! STOP this INSANITY…!

  38. Another piece of potential childhood nostalgia goes thppppppttt.

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  41. I think the town’s motivation is to avoid getting sued, not to oppress anyone. Understandable. Why don’t they just get people to sign a waiver?

  42. The town I grew up in closed steep roads during heavy snowfall. The sledders took them over. I remember one hill you could shoot under the lower barricade and sled across four lanes of active traffic. You had to pay attention and bail if the timing was off. We also had a spot behind the school named “Deadman’s Curve”. As I got older I perfected the art of “hookey bobbing”. You wait by a stop sign or have your little brother walk across the street to impede traffic. You then sneak up behind the car and grab the rear bumper and let it pull you down the road on your slick-soled wingtip shoes.

  43. They used to post “No Bicycles” signs in the parks, if a child were caught riding a bike, the police took the bike and a parent had to retrieve it from the PD.
    Of course a child then went back to a park, was seriously injured and the parents sued, on the grounds that if it were really dangerous the police should not have returned the bike.
    That is why if the police take a child’s bike in NY, it can no longer be retrieved.
    It’s not the police that created this situation but angry parents who now lose an expensive bike blame them

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