Liability concerns


To the editor,


We are back to that time of year again for people to shovel or sweep their sidewalks. When I was in my 20s, shoveling sidewalk was not on my list of priorities until my wise brother advised me if someone were to fall on my sidewalk I could be sued. That was a great motivator. Now I find myself worrying about elderly people or perhaps someone with a handicap trying to navigate snow packed or icy sidewalks.

I understand some people cannot physically shovel their walks nor can they afford to hire it done. Perhaps that would be a project for the Montana Youth Challenge to do as a community service?

I would like though to remind businesses that people do not only use the sidewalks during the work week. There are a number of business locations that fail to clear their sidewalks and I hope they will take this plea to heart. I hope the property owners will have empathy with the people that use the sidewalks and keep them cleaned. I am enclosing the City Ordinances that address this matter and I am hoping the powers of the City will enforce this and penalize some of the negligent parties.

 12.40.010 Snow and Ice Removal – Generally It is the duty of the owner of any premises within the City of Dillon to keep the sidewalks in front of and adjoining his premises clean and safe for pedestrians, and with all possible dispatch to remove snow, ice, slush and other impediments to safe convenient foot travel, and to prevent continuous accumulation of the same upon such sidewalks. 

 12.40.040 Snow and Ice Removal - Time Allowed - Sprinkling of Sand or De-icing agents Sidewalks located in the Central Business District must in all cases be freed from the night’s accumulation of snow, ice, slush, mud or other like impediment before 10:00 a.m. of the same day. When from freezing of water, snow, or slush thereon, or by reason of such compaction resulting from the wear of foot travel or from any cause whatever, sidewalks are rendered dangerous, unsafe, or difficult to the free passage of pedestrians, it shall be the duty of the owners of premises in front of or adjoining such sidewalks to remedy such conditions by sprinkling sand or de-icing agents on the sidewalks, or chipping or by other safe and efficient means. Sidewalks, other than those located in the Central Business District, must in all cases be kept clean of snow and not to be allowed to remain thereon any snow for a longer period than twelve hours. 

 12.46.010 Violation - Penalty - Any person convicted of violating the provisions of this title shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall pay a fine of not less than twenty-five dollars nor more than one hundred dollars. 


Diane Armstrong