Ken Rizer

Ken Rizer

The Iowa House has passed a bill designed to provide liability protection to cities that allow sledding in places like parks and golf courses that are city-owned properties.

“The need for this change was most recently demonstrated by the City of Dubuque banning sledding for fear of liability lawsuits, said Representative Ken Rizer. a Republican from Cedar Rapids. “…Let the kids sled!”

Current Iowa law lists specific activities — like canoeing, skateboarding and something called “scootering” — for which there is a “normal risk” of injury and the law provides cities limited liability protection if negligence was not involved in accidents that happen on city-owned property. Sledding is not on the list. The bill would take out all the references to specific activities and insert the phrase “recreational activities” in the part of state law that offers some liability protection to cities that allow sledding and other recreational exploits on city-owned property.

“This puts responsibility for expected injuries with the individual, while still holding cities responsible for gross negligence,” Rizer said.

Representative Chuck Isenhart, a Democrat from Dubuque, urged his colleages to support the change.

“Please give the citizens of Dubuque something else to talk about next winter,” Isenhart said.

The bill passed unanimously and now is eligible for consideration in the Iowa Senate. In 2013 the Iowa House passed a bill dealing with this sledding liability issue, but it stalled in the senate..