The SODA Blog

The official blog of the Sportsplex Operators & Developers Association

Council member questions skatepark injury liability !

Since New Castle Action Sports Park, the city’s new skateboard and BMX bicycle facility, recently opened for business on S. Main Street, there have been a few injuries to some of those persons making use of the facility.

New Castle EMS Chief Josh Russell said his department has been dispatched to the “skate park” a few times, but most of those injuries have not been serious

“I don’t think it represents a public danger or nuisance,” Russell said. “For the number of people that have been participating there, I think the number of incidents we’ve had have been minimal.”

The EMS chief said his department has responded to less than a half-dozen injuries at the facility and most of them have been minor. He also suggested those persons making use of the park wear helmets and other protective gear and exercise due caution.

New Castle City Council member Lynn Perdue broached the subject of injuries at New Castle Action Sports Park at the most recent meeting of the council when he asked who is responsible if someone is injured at the facility.

“I’ve been asked a lot about injuries at the skatepark. Who is responsible for that?” he asked.

City attorney David Copenhaver immediately responded by saying the injured person is responsible for his or her own injuries.

“There’s a sign up, and state law is very clear, it’s skate at your own risk,” Copenhaver said.

He went on to say the State of Indiana has what it known as an extreme parks law that exempts cities from responsibility for injuries as long as certain conditions are met.

“As long as your skatepark is properly designed by an expert, and it’s posted that you skate at your own risk, and it’s properly maintained, and ours is brand new, that a person skates at their own risk,” Copenhaver said. “If they don’t want to assume that risk then they shouldn’t get out there and skate.”

Perdue then asked if the city should be carrying a secondary insurance policy on the action sports park and Copenhaver indicated that wasn’t necessary since the skatepark enjoys the same insurance coverage and protection as do the other municipal parks.

After years of discussion about possibly building a new skatepark and BMX biking facility, and following several months of the parks board and mayor actively seeking the funds and making plans to construct one, a large crowd gathered Aug. 12 on S. Main Street for a ribbon cutting and community picnic at the site of a new facility designed for skateboard and trick bike enthusiasts.

The new $275,000 facility was built primarily with food and beverage funds appropriated by the Henry County Council and a considerable amount of in-kind support in the form of funds, labor and materials from the city, local businesses, individuals and the welding program students at the New Castle Career Center.

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