City law says slippery sidewalks are your responsibility

City law says slippery sidewalks are your responsibility

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - While refreezing and black ice are continuing issues for roads in the Heartland, ice and snow are also sticking around on sidewalks.

So, who’s responsible for cleaning them off?

Many Heartland cities including Cape Girardeau have a snow removal law saying businesses and residents are responsible for clearing sidewalks and stairs around your building.

The rule in Chapter 24, section 107 of Cape’s code of ordinances states that ‘No owner or occupier of any lot or land shall allow snow to remain upon any adjoining sidewalk to a greater depth than one inch, ten hours after the snow has fallen.’

The risk of falling and getting hurt is preventing runners like Terry Crocker from hitting the icy sidewalks and trails.

“I’ve got a big year, a lot of races on the books and I want to stay healthy,” Crocker said. “I find myself just being extra cautious and I prefer to stay indoors and run on a treadmill if conditions stay as they are.”

Crocker is from California and says it’s not only difficult to walk on snow and ice but it’s a challenge to clear off.

Fred Elias owns the Cape Girardeau Ace Hardware.

He suggests shoveling first and says to point downhill and away from entrances. Then throw salt directly onto the ice.

“If you throw ice melt on six inches of snow and then scrap it you’re not doing much good. You’re getting rid of everything. The ice is the danger," Elias said. "Ordinance or not safety is important. A fall could break bones. I could take you out of commission for a long, long time. I know I’ll drive by if it’s not cleared off where I would pull in I’m thinking ‘I could get stuck myself.’”

Elias also says rain from your gutters can create ice but says you can avoid it by pointing your spouts away from walking areas.

This weekend alone, the Cape Ace Hardware has sold about 50 shovels and close to 300 bags of salt.

Crocker hopes more people spend the time and money to clear off walkways, especially for anyone with limited mobility.

“Those are the things you don’t think about. Somebody in a wheelchair, or using a walker like my mother,” Crocker said. “She is locked indoors so you have to plan ahead for something like this and is not able to get out. You have to be mindful to keep the doors, the walkways and the path to the parking lot salted and protected.”

Those interested in finding out what their own snow removal law is can reach out to their local city hall.

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