Apparently cities in the US and now Canada are posting signs on tobogganing hills warning people not to toboggan. This comes out of fear of liability and lawsuits following injuries on the hill.
My suggestion is for people to stop being dumb. Seriously if you make the decision to hope on a thin bit of plastic or wood and race down a hill at top speed and as a result of that decision you crash and get injured – that is all on you. No need to sue the municipality for the consequences of your own decision.
When I was a somewhat younger I lived close to a fantastic tobogganing hill. It actually used to be a garbage dump many year before I moved to the area and when they closed the dump it was landscaped into sports fields and a great hill. We went tobogganing every chance we got and spent hours and hours trudging up that hill and barrelling down as fast as we could.
We raced each other on a variety of sleds, some – like me – on a GT Snowracer, others on wooden and plastic sleds and toboggans. We built jumps and flew through the air. We tried to make each other crash. In other words we all got hurt. Often just bruises, sometimes more serious. I broke my wrist standing at the top of the hill – not even in one of my many dramatic crash landings from a jump. I almost took out a friend’s eye when I crashed into his face with my wooden toboggan. Tobogganing is crazy good fun.
When I was a kid I remember my dad riding down a hill on that same wooden toboggan. He rode down standing up and then he tipped over and broke his shoulder. I am now in possession of that toboggan and am in the midst of rehabilitating it and once I get a new rope for it and wax up the bottom for speed, it will be back in action, more than thirty years after my dad’s crash.
Now we live close to a park with a small hill that helps to fill our most urgent tobogganing needs. We live reasonably close to much larger municipal toboggan hills and we occasionally go to them. I think once the wooden one is ready it will be worth the drive to a bigger hill.
Tobogganing involves an element of risk and there are things you can do to reduce your risk without taking away the fun.
- don’t toboggan on a hill that ends in a road, forest, glass or body of water
- the experts say to wear a helmet – this would be a case of do as I say, not as I do as I am unlikely to ever wear a helmet tobogganing.
- ride your sled while sitting or kneeling. As my dad proved, standing is not usually the best way to go
- install a roll cage on your sled
- keep your eyes open while you are screaming.
Accept your risks, don’t sue the municipality for your own behaviour and let the rest of us have fun.