Slid­ing bans not the way to go

The Compass - - OPINION -

Many gen­er­a­tions of fam­i­lies have gone sled­ding in Canada over the years. They have all un­der­stood the risks in­volved and in the pur­suit of this most en­joy­able pas­time, most have sur­vived with a few mi­nor scrapes, bruises and red cheeks.

Dur­ing the last 10 or so years and with the lat­est tech­nol­ogy — cell phones, iPods and the like — our chil­dren have pre­ferred to stay in­doors. They have be­come a gen­er­a­tion of thumb twid­dling, out-of-shape young­sters, who don’t know what it is to spend a day or at least a cou­ple of hours out­side, get­ting fresh air and ex­er­cise! Doc­tors and other spe­cial­ists have been en­cour­ag­ing chil­dren and adults to get out­side and par­take in phys­i­cal ex­er­cise.

Then some­one in On­tario de­cides to sue the City of Oakville be­cause their child hurt them­selves while slid­ing! When you are born, you take a risk and ev­ery­thing you do from then on, that risk in and of it­self, is part and par­cel for any out­door ac­tiv­ity. And if cities like Oakville and St. John’s, New­found­land and Labrador, have their way, this once healthy and nor­mal ac­tiv­ity will be banned be­cause some overzeal­ous and over­pro­tec­tive par­ent sued a city!

Where will this lu­nacy end? Ever since time be­gan and man started in­vent­ing things to make life eas­ier, hu­mans have been get­ting hurt in one way or an­other as a di­rect or in­di­rect re­sult of any­thing we in­vent. If you step out­side at all, you run the in­her­ent risk of get­ting hit by some­thing, whether it is from the sky or from you trip­ping or faint­ing or a myr­iad of other things. Will we fol­low suit and sue high heel shoe man­u­fac­tur­ers be­cause some­one sprained an an­kle? Or falls off a bike and sues a bi­cy­cle man­u­fac­turer, like Sch­winn or Raleigh? Or are we wait­ing for some­one to be sued here be­cause a draw­string on a hood failed to stay tied and the per­son caught a cold?

The lady who sued the City of Oakville and an­other who sued the fam­ily of a dead child and two oth­ers (be­cause they failed to ap­ply the brakes on their bi­cy­cles) af­ter she ad­mit­ted to speed­ing and drink­ing, are ob­vi­ously lack­ing in com­mon sense. If com­mon sense were ap­plied here th­ese two law­suits would not be hap­pen­ing and chil­dren could once again go slid­ing.

— Wanda White writes from Broad Cove

Edi­tor’s note: The City of St. John’s is re­view­ing its in­sur­ance pol­icy in light of li­a­bil­ity con­cerns tied to the sit­u­a­tion in On­tario. Mayor Den­nis O’Keefe told The Tele­gram, “We have no in­tent, if at all pos­si­ble, to ban slid­ing on city prop­erty.”

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