Posted by: thescoundrel | December 18, 2008

Tis the Season for Snow

When you live in an area you come to understand that the year is full of different phases of each season – determined by the environment of the area. You learn to adapt and prepare for the seasonal weather. When you fail to prepare and act upon the events of a season you can create risk for yourself and others. Now for todays rant!

What is it with people and businesses to lazy to clean the snow from their sidewalks? It is not that difficult. Unless you are handicapped, all it takes is the mindset to get the job done. Sidewalks covered in snow and ice are a hazard to people that walk. All it takes to clean them is some elbow-grease along with a snow shovel and stiff broom (for the low-tech), or a snow blower, or a yard tractor with a snow blade and then to spread some de-icer on the area. It is a season-long continuous enterprise that must happen when you live in snowy regions.

As traffic moved along tonight I noticed a woman waiting for the bus stuck standing on the edge of the road because no one in the area had cleaned any of the sidewalks as far as I could see. The area had both residential and businesses – yet all the sidewalks were covered in snow and ice. On a busy intersection that is risky. In another scenario – I try and walk the city blocks about forty-five minutes several times during a week. And come winter that becomes an unsafe task. It seems like every block there is a lot of sidewalk covered in ice created by people too lazy to shovel the snow from their sidewalks. I have noticed a lot of that in the Quad Cities since I moved here. Now I can understand if the individual living there is elderly or incapable of cleaning their snow. Yet most of the sidewalks I personally encounter that are in the most dire condition – DO NOT BELONG TO THE ELDERLY OR THE DISABLED. Most of the elderly or disabled, I know, have made arrangement to have clean sidewalks. It is like a badge of honor for them. If they cannot do it themselves, they get someone else to do it for them. Heck I know of one elderly man that not only cleans his sidewalks, he cleans many of his neighbors paths. I have to ask myself, if that elderly man is out cleaning after a miserable snow – why is any business or Joe Average Resident risking others safety by neglecting the same necessary removal of fallen snow?

It is no secret what has to be done. When people and businesses fail to properly take care of snow on their sidewalks – it is both disrespectful and dangerous to themselves and everyone else!



  1. Good point. Ours is the only sidewalk clear on our block. Now we’re going to get more snow. I would hate to be a mailman around here. I also walk a lot in the summer, but not after the first snowfall.

  2. It would suck to deliver mail on the blocks I walk during the winter snow. I have a lot of sidewalk plus a driveway. I have already used a lot of salt and this ice storm made it worse. But the big dog is happy. She loves to play in the snow. The snarling beast on the other hand likes to get outside, do her business quickly and return to the warmth inside the house.

  3. Where did you see these unshoveled sidewalks?

    I haven’t lived in the cities since ’91, but if I remember correctly, in some of the QCs it was the law that the sidewalks had to be cleared.

    If you saw this in one of the “must shovel” cities, you should protest—pronto!

  4. Most cities have must shovel rules. I suggest you cruise Silvis. There are lots of unshoveled areas. And it is a recurring event. There are always plenty of sidewalks you could snowboard down during winter. It would probably be safer than walking them.

  5. My understanding of that section of the Illinois Good Samaritan Act covering snow removal (745 ILCS 75/ Snow and Ice Removal Act) is that it applies to residences only. If someone gets hurt because of snow in front of my shop, it is the fault of God or the landlord. If I go out and shovel, it could be the fault of me. If I’m wrong, someone please straighten me out because I would love to help my customers. If I’m right, chastise the legislators and insurance companies, not me.

  6. Shopkeeper I suggest that you check into city laws not state. The State laws I have read seem to avoid the subject as best they can. City laws vary and are often more demanding than state laws, as is their right. While I doubt that the laws force you to remove snow from your property itself, if you have sidewalks that run parallel with the city streets there will be laws that govern snow removal as those are considered public access ways. Not only can they require you to remove the snow from public sidewalks, they can fine you for not doing so plus if they wish they can have it shoveled by an outside source and charge you for the labor and costs in involved. And you are still responsible for any accidents that occur, except that you did not oversee the snow removal.

    Besides it is good “business sense” to remove snow from any area that you expect customers to use. Not removing the snow risks running off customers to businesses that display that courtesy to customers. And the laws I have read require an injury from ice/snow to be proved that the injury must be the cause of foreseeable and/or wanton disregard of the snow removal. Which is lawyereeze for whatever we can get the judge to agree to. That is why you carry insurance for protection.

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