Now that the sun is shining, and the rain here in Ohio has stopped for more than one day, our lawns are sure to be in growing as fast as we can mow. Lately, there has been a spike in media coverage about what happens to the clippings once they are cut. Although it may not be intuitive to realize the danger grass clippings in the road may cause, they do pose a significant danger to motorcyclists. Of course, due to the lack of protection a motorcycle provides, even a “minor” accident can cause severe injuries to the rider. Visit our motorcycle accidents page for more about specific motorcycle injuries.
Grass clippings in the roadway are more than just an eyesore. Fresh grass clippings are very moist and consist of 80-85% water. Clumps of moist grass in the roadway is similar to a grease spot when driven over by a motorcycle. Once the grass clippings dry out on the road, they still produce a barrier between the road’s surface and a motorcyclist’s tires which has been described as affecting a motorcycle like ice.
The State of Ohio does have a statute regarding placing an obstruction on the roadway. Ohio Revised Code 4511.74 states in part, “No person shall place any obstruction in or upon a highway without proper authority.”
However, grass clippings and other yard wastes have not been included under the definition of the term “obstruction” with respect to its use in ORC 4511.74. As such, there is not a statewide law prohibiting leaving grass clippings in the roadway.
Due to the lack of a statewide statute, some local governments have filled the void with legislation prohibiting this practice.
The Journal-News has recently discussed the issue with a pastor of a motorcycle ministry. He believes a local law needs to be passed here in Hamilton, Ohio. Currently, there is not an ordinance on the books regarding grass clippings in Hamilton. Learn more about getting rid of yard waste at the City of Hamilton‘s informational site.
If you have a question about a motorcycle accident feel free to contact us. Our motorcycle accident attorneys will discuss your case, for free, over the phone or in person. Call 513-894-3333 to set up an appointment.