Every Day I’m Shoveling

March 25, 2024

If you live in desert or tropical climes, this article is not for you. However, if you own a business or residential property in an area that experiences winter weather, this season adds a burden that needs your attention…..snow removal.

Residential and commercial property owners know the familiar drill after a significant snowfall. It involves either picking up a shovel, starting up the snowblower, or hiring a snowplow service to clear out the driveway or the employee and customer parking lots. Unfortunately, in many instances, the removal effort ends there…and that may represent a shirked responsibility.

Once driveways and lots are clear, many property and business owners forget about sidewalks and other paths used by pedestrians. Besides being a poor neighbor, failure to clear walkways may cause other problems. Snow that hasn’t been removed makes it very difficult for pedestrians to make their way, whether to school, work, or go shopping. It also creates extra danger.

Sidewalks are often close to streets, and snow that is cleared for vehicles is usually piled along walkways. Pedestrians often have to deal with snowfall amounts supplemented by added snow from plows. Pedestrians may be forced to enter the edge of streets to walk, going through road slush and ice while dangerously close to vehicular traffic. It is very important for property owners to clear their adjacent, snow-covered walkways.

Snow removal isn’t just about being a good residential or business neighbor. For many, it’s a legal requirement. Most cities and towns have active ordinances requiring that walkways be cleared for use. Failure to do so may result in warnings and fines. The latter can easily become substantial since they could be fined daily.

Another, more critical, concern is to practice risk management. A pedestrian injured while trying to navigate an obstructed walkway can easily lead to a lawsuit. Why would any reasonable property or business owner want to face such a preventable source of loss voluntarily?

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