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With million dollar lawsuits on the line, more cities are trying to play it safe

Winter fun challenged as more cities ban sledding

Sunday, January 11, 2015, 12:47 PM - It's a tradition for winter fans across North America but new legislation could make sledding impossible.

Faced with potential lawsuits, some cities have decided to play it safe and keep hills closed this winter season.

One of the latest cities to ban the winter activity is Dubuque, Iowa where sledding is now illegal in all but two of their parks.

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The decision came after council members went over recent lawsuits in other places. In Omaha, Nebraska, a 5-year-old girl was paralyzed after she hit a tree. The lawsuit cost the city $2 million. In Sioux City, Iowa, a man won a $2.75 million judgment.

Many other cities in North America found other ways to diminish their liability. Some closed down certain dangerous hills while others posted signs warning people to sled at their own risk.

One city in Illinois went as far as removing an entire sledding hill in 2013. The hill, which was actually a dirt mound, was created to cover junk but had since become a popular spot for sledders.

In Canada, the situation is slowly becoming similar. In Orangeville, residents were outraged to find a 'no tobogganing' sign on a popular hill. The mayor said the sign was placed at the suggestion of an insurance company performing a risk assessment. He did clarify that there was no bylaw stopping people from tobagganing.

In Hamilton, residents could face a $5000 fine if they're caught sledding on a hill with a clearly visible sign. The fine fee was so high that a change.org petition was started.

"Did you know that the City of Hamilton has implemented an astronomical charge for having winter fun? People can now receive up to a $5,000 FINE for tobogganing on local hills!," the petition reads. "Too many people are stuck indoors, playing endless video games, drinkin' soda's; staring at the television and letting their brains and bodies turn to MUSH! As proud Canadians we must embrace our right to toboggan down that freshly powdered hill here in Hamilton, Ontario!![sic]"

The petition asks for the signs to be changed to "toboggan at your own risk" instead of "NO tobogganing"

On the other hands, cities like Edmonton, Alberta and Kitchener, Ontario have no intention of joining in on the ban, even if signage could become possible in the future..

MUST-SEE: Looking for other fun activities to do in winter. Try this!

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