For people in Ontario who love winter weather activities, this time of year is a dream come true. Sledding or tobogganing is one of the activities that many like to participate in. Unfortunately, while fun, the activity can be dangerous.
In an effort to prevent serious sledding injuries, some communities in the province have restricted where the sledding can take place. Violations of the law could lead to fines.
Hamilton is one of those communities. After previously banning tobogganing, it recently approved four locations for the activity. Before doing so, the city's risk management team, public works department and lawyers came together to create measures to make sure the hills are as safe as possible. In addition to creating signs, any hazards that exist on the site will be addressed by the city. A plan of action was also created regarding salting, plowing and, when necessary, bringing in additional snow. The decades-long ban was the result of several successful lawsuits against the city tied to injuries that occurred in tobogganing accidents.
There are multiple things people can do to stay safe while sledding in addition to selecting a hill that is free of hazards. Sitting forward or on one's knees is safer than going headfirst. Before pushing off, the path should be clear and upon reaching the bottom, sliders should quickly move out of the way of other sleds or toboggans coming down the hill. Maintaining control of the sled is also imperative.
While legal action may be possible following a sledding accident, most would likely agree that accident prevention is the best approach.
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