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Winter walking

In Des Moines, where I grew up, there's lots of snow in the winter. As a result, city ordinances require that everyone clear the sidewalk in front of their home or business within 48 hours of snowfall, subject to fines. The other week, the company responsible for bus benches had failed to adequately clear benches and curbs for people waiting on buses; it made the newspaper.

Here in London, there's not usually much snow. There still isn't much snow, but it has snowed a few times in the last week. This is a place which just isn't prepared to handle snow, however small the quantities, which in many ways makes it more dangerous than places which regularly receive large amounts of snow, like Des Moines. Last year, the one time it snowed, lots of people were out the next day with their garden shovels, clearing the pavement. (Almost no one owns snow shovels; there's not usually enough to justify it.) This year, with a week of minor accumulation, no one on my street has done a thing about the snow or bits of ice in front of their houses. austengirl said she'd heard that this year, advice was against shoveling, for fear of creating irregular walking surfaces which could lead to injury and lawsuits.



( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 13th, 2010 07:16 pm (UTC)
I had the conversation about sueing with my mother after hearing a long segment on PM about it. Apparently, there is no official advice about not shovelling, but the various usual suspects in the media have been pedalling that as PC GONE MAD - thus meaning that everyone's too afraid to go 'that's a load of old rubbish' and be public-minded citizens.
Jan. 13th, 2010 07:22 pm (UTC)
It's the local council's responsibility to clear the pavement, and if anybody shovels the snow off and as a result someone is injured, they can indeed be sued. That's not just this year; it's the general situation.

The other problem, of course, is where to put the snow. Like many houses round here, my house is a terraced house with no front garden, not even a pocket handkerchief of one like the last one I lived in, so the only place for shovelled snow is in the road. In the tiny space between parked cars, making it impossible for them to get out, mine included. If I did that at best I could expect an angry knock on the door; more likely it would be to find the snow re-dug and dumped in front of my front door.
Jan. 13th, 2010 09:03 pm (UTC)
Another factor in our bit of the street is that no one in our terrace houses owns shovels of any kind (well, I have a trowel for my potplants but it's more cute than useful) so we can only really stare at the snow or ice and hope it melts!
Jan. 13th, 2010 09:50 pm (UTC)
I have to say that I am extremely sceptical about this whole sueing business, as it appears to never have actually happened, either to an individual or to a company. This article is fairly good on the question concerning business, and this webpage does a media scare round-up and the likelihood of an individual being sued.
Jan. 13th, 2010 07:42 pm (UTC)
Also, there is that thing where your humble pedestrian has been crunching along quite happily in unshovelled snow, and suddenly finds hirself on a stretch of scraped pavement which is not dry and hence lethally icy...

Me, as said humble pedestrian, I would far rather people didn't touch the damn snow, at least until it turns to ice anyway. At which point I am myself out there breaking the damn' stuff up, and damning everyone who isn't just exactly like me, basically.

As you say: we are not a people trained to handle snow. Nor walk on ice (as opposed to a Ukrainian friend of mine, who can do this thing without a thought. Can it be genetic...?).
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 14th, 2010 10:22 am (UTC)
That's such good spam, I'm almost tempted to keep it. Almost.

How's the river?
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )