After the record-breaking snowfall of last weekend, which marked the snowiest September day in Calgary’s history, we were all reminded of the perils of snow and ice in the city. Environment Canada reported that 24.6 centimetres of the white stuff fell at the airport, beating the previous single-day record of 22.9 centimetres, which happened on Sept. 19, 1895, more than a century ago. In addition to that, Lethbridge residents reported more than 50 centimetres of snow, and the Waterton area more than 100.
By Monday morning Calgary police said there had been more than 300 collisions reported in the city, with a huge 16-car pileup happening on Deerfoot Trail and Beddington Trail. This kept insurance brokers and providers very busy for the week. But since we have previously provided tips for driving in icy conditions, this time around we thought we would cover the other main method of self-transportation: walking.
Your Snow-Removal Responsibilities
City bylaws require that snow and ice must be removed down to bare concrete surfaces on public pathways within 24 hours of the last flake hitting the ground. You must also clear a path at least 1.5 metres wide to allow for people to pass each other. Snow from private property, such as that from your driveway, must be piled on your own property, while snow from sidewalks can be piled on public property, such as the street. Because snow must be cleared so quickly, noise restrictions are lifted for 48 hours after the snowfall ends. This allows snow-clearing crews to operate through the night to help get the city up and running as quickly as possible.
Those whose property happens to border a bike lane are asked to pile their snow at the edge of the sidewalk between the treeline and/or light pole line and the curb.
If you fail to comply with these requirements, you may receive a warning from the City of Calgary with a deadline for when your property must be cleared. If you do not do so, the City will clear your property for you and you will receive an invoice of $150. You may also be fined for failure to comply, starting at $250 for your first offence, $500 for a second offense, and $750 for each and every offense after within a 12-month period.
If you own a rental property that you do not live at, be aware that you are still responsible for clearing its sidewalks and pathways for the public and your tenants.
Problem properties that are unsafe can be reported here.
Liability for Slip and Fall Incidents
We’ve all taken a tumble on icy sidewalks, and the injuries sustained can be devastating. The most common slip and fall injuries include soft tissue injuries such as sprains, strains, and torn ligaments and tendons, broken bones, head injuries, and back injuries.
An incentive for getting out and shoveling as quickly as possible is to remember that if someone slips and falls on your property, you can be held liable. Slip and fall lawsuits are common, and expensive. Your home insurance will help cover the cost of litigation and reimbursement for pain and suffering of the victim, but keep in mind that insurance companies don’t much like having claims made against them. Depending on the severity of the incident, a slip and fall could result in your home insurance policy being cancelled.
Walk Like a Penguin
To avoid becoming the victim of a slip and fall yourself, here are a few tips to help you stay on your feet courtesy of Alberta Health Services (AHS), which advises that the best way to avoid falling is to “walk like a penguin.” This means:
- Bending forward slightly
- Putting your whole foot down for a step (or walking “flat-footed”)
- Keeping your centre of gravity over top of your feet
- Taking shorter steps and “shuffling”
- Keeping your hands out of your pockets so that you are ready to catch yourself at any time
- Watching very carefully where you are stepping and concentrating on what you are doing
Review Your Home Insurance With Lane’s
When it comes to renewal time – or at any time of the year – the expert insurance brokers at Lane’s insurance are available to help you go through your coverage to ensure you are getting what you should from your policy. There is no cost to switch insurance companies provided your payments are up to date. Insurance brokers are better, as we are able to shop through a number of policies from Alberta’s very best insurance providers to contrast and compare their offerings, tailoring your insurance to exactly fit your needs. Contact us at our Calgary, Edmonton, Banff, and Alberta offices today.