Cities across the nation ban sledding for fear of being sued - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Cities across the nation ban sledding for fear of being sued

Kids across the Tri-State went out to sled Tuesday after hearing that they got a snow day (FOX19/Lisa Hutson) Kids across the Tri-State went out to sled Tuesday after hearing that they got a snow day (FOX19/Lisa Hutson)
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

It's happening all over the country. Municipalities have started banning the winter pass-time of sledding in city parks due to the fear of litigation if someone is injured.

Here in Ohio, the fun is still very legal and very popular on a snow day--the two words most kids love to hear.

"She's like 'It's closed' and I'm like 'Oh my God thank you!" said Rogen McKinney, who was spending his snow day at Chill Hill at Voice of America Park in Butler County.

Dozens of kids of all ages can fly down three hills until dark as long as they follow the safety rules clearly posted and for good reason.

In 2006, the town of Circleville, Ohio became the defendant in a lawsuit when an 18-year-old struck a railroad tie while sledding down a hill in a public park. Jeremy Pauley suffered a broken neck paralyzing him from the neck down.

But in 2013, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled in favor of Circleville saying the city was not liable for Pauley's injuries, even if the park created a hazardous condition. It's a law that protects most Ohio cities from litigation if someone is injured while participating in recreational activity in a public area.

While several other states like Iowa and Michigan have some protection under theirs laws, some of them do not specify sledding as a recreational activity, leaving them open to litigation. Dubuque, Iowa recently banned sledding from 48 of its 50 city parks for that reason.

Park officials say they took the extra step to design Chill Hill just for sledding with no trees and every precaution taken to keep kids safe.

Cincinnati says sledding is permitted within city parks and they see no reason to change that in the near future.

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