Sioux City argues for updated sledding laws - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Sioux City argues for updated sledding laws

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV)- Snow means slippery roads, cold temperatures, and extra travel time. It can also mean snowmobiling, snowboarding, and sledding. 

But the city of Sioux City is working to change state laws for sledding on public property.

While not much snow has fallen for sledding, the city of Sioux City is trying to plan ahead to avoid any future accidents.

"The additional immunity protection that we're requesting from the legislature would be a bit of the best of both worlds. People would still be able to enjoy the recreational activity, but the city wouldn't be stuck with large claims," Nicole Jensen, City Attorney said.

The city is worried about injuries; specifically the cost of injuries.

"We're asking our state reps to amend the Iowa code so we can have these protections with ice skating and with sledding, also with our recreational activities like softball, and our public entities that have activities on them," Rhonda Capron, City Council member said.
Liability for sledding accidents has cost the city a pretty penny in the past. 

In 2008, a man was sledding on this very hill when he was paralyzed while sledding within the designated area. That accident cost $2.75 million.

"It's a large liability for the city, and a large responsibility that the city has to pay out. It ultimately falls to the city to pay those costs, and ultimately to the taxpayers," Jensen said.

City officials are hopeful they can get the state laws changed, keeping the legal responsibility for injuries where they think it belongs.

"Basically, to me, when you go to be entertained someplace, we shouldn't be responsible for that. And I really feel that people need to take responsibility for themselves," Capron said.

But most importantly, city officials say, they hope everyone will stay safe on the slopes.

The city discussed sledding legislation with representatives on the city's legislative day a few weeks ago. 

Representatives said they would take the issue to the state's legislative session in February.
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