Austin Retzleff, 13, of Fond du Lac, spins his scooter around several times in the air at the Fond du Lac Skate Park. The city of Fond du Lac does not assume liability for the risky actions of riders. / Patrick Flood/Action Reporter Media
A sign at the entrance to Fond du Lac Skate Park informs riders they will take part in activities at their own risk. / Patrick Flood/Action Reporter Media
Today in “What’s the Story” we answer a question from a reader who wants to know about the city ’s liability with Fond du Lac skatepark riders who take risks without wearing safety gear.
A. The city is off the hook when it comes to the risky moves by riders at the Adelaide Skate Park located along North Hickory Street.
“There’s a state code section called recreational immunity,” said Fond du Lac City Attorney Deb Hoffmann. “This applies to any property owner in Wisconsin. My understanding on why this was passed is to allow people to hunt on property (without liability risk to property owners).”
Hoffmann said those using the skatepark at Adelaide Park are taking part in a recreational activity that limitsthe city’s liability. Signs posted at the park inform users that they take part in activities at their own risk.
“Skateboarding can be dangerous,” the sign says. “Skate at your own risk. Helmets, knee and elbow pads should be worn at all times.”
“That comes from common law and the assumption of risk when you do something that is really risky,” Hoffmann said, adding that she is not aware of any claims against the city from incidents at the skatepark.
“We would encourage people to wear helmets. It would be the safe thing to do,” she said.
Do you have a question you’d like answered in “What’s the Story?” Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (920) 907-7912.