Mowing your lawn and then blowing grass clippings into the street doesn’t seem right. But can you get in trouble with the law for failing to collect your grass clippings?
While laws, local codes, and rules vary from area to area, it is generally not illegal to blow grass into the street. But you shouldn’t do it because it may be against local codes, HOA rules, or local ordinances. If it causes an accident, and someone gets injured, the practice can expose you to legal liability.
Here is what you should know.
It isn’t illegal to blow grass into the street simply because most states don’t have a specific law that prohibits the act. Therefore, in the absence of any law addressing the act, you won’t be breaking the law.
As a result, even though the practice may be frowned upon, it is technically not illegal.
However, a few states like Minnesota have state laws that outlaw the practice. If you live in such a state, it can be illegal to blow them into the street or highway. But it is important to note that this is not common as most of the states in the country don’t have specific laws addressing the act.
Why is it wrong to blow grass into the street?
Yes, it is wrong to blow grass clippings into the street.
Here are the main reasons why.
It can damage public property
Grass clippings can block storm drains. They can also clog up other drainage systems. This can then interfere with the functioning of public utilities. And it may thus inconvenience members of the public. It may also necessitate unnecessary and premature repairs of public resources.
It can cause accidents
Grass clippings create extremely slippery surfaces. When bicycles or motorcycles pass over areas covered in the clippings, they can lose traction. This will then lead to untold damages and avoidable injuries. The resulting accident can even be life-threatening.
It can be against HOA rules and guidelines
Most HOAs in the country have guidelines with regard to the disposal of grass clippings and other debris. Generally, they prohibit blowing them into the street. They require homeowners to bag their own clippings and then deposit them responsibly.
If you are part of an HOA, it means that you are bound by its rules. Therefore, going against their rules or guidelines can get you in trouble. You will also be breaking your commitment to abide by its rules.
It amounts to public littering
Depositing grass clippings into the street is simply littering it. It makes it look dirty and unkempt. And you can get a ticket for it.
It can be against the law
In some states, like Minnesota, it is a misdemeanor to place or deposit items on the street or highway. Grass clippings fall in this category. Therefore, in such areas, blowing them into the street will be breaking the law.
How can blowing grass into the street get you in trouble?
You shouldn’t be confident about getting away with blowing grass clippings into the street. Here are the reasons why.
It is illegal in some areas
In some states, it can be illegal to blow grass onto the streets. This is because states like Virginia, Minnesota, and New York have laws that make it illegal to deposit substances on highways or streets. This is so especially if these substances are likely to cause injury.
Clippings are in the same category
While these regulations don’t mention grass clippings specifically, they can fall in the same category as other prohibited substances. This is because the clippings can be dangerous to users of the highway or public street.
And since you can be fined for depositing, placing, or throwing rubbish, litter, garbage, or trash material on a public highway or street, you can also be fined for blowing your grass clippings into the street.
Why so serious?
And so the question is, why would the state or local authority make such a big deal out of just grass clippings?
They can take it seriously, and they often do, because blowing clippings onto a road or street isn’t a harmless act. It can be dangerous.
Grass clippings are especially dangerous for those who ride motorcycles. They can also be a danger to cyclists.
This is because they often create a slippery surface. They reduce wheel traction. They also mess with the effectiveness of braking. And this can lead to accidents and serious injuries.
You can get littering tickets
Even if your state and local authority don’t have a law or code addressing the practice, you can still get fined or cited for littering a public space. And while this is not a serious violation, if it is a consistent practice, it can get expensive.
Violation of city codes against damaging public property
Why? Because blowing leaves onto the street can clog storm drains sewer lines, drainage systems, and other city utilities. This will cost the city money. And in order to shield the city from incurring unnecessary expenses, they penalize you by fining you or by forcing you to cater for the costs of repairing any damage that occurs as a result of your action.
You can get sued
If the grass that you blow into the street causes an accident, you can get sued. This can be a motorcycle accident, a cycling accident, or even a passerby simply slipping and falling.
And the thing that you should keep in mind is that they don’t really have to have a valid claim in order to sue you. And they also don’t have to win for you to lose.
The fact that they file a lawsuit is enough to cause you to lose. Why? Because lawsuits, even meaningless ones, cost money. They also require a lot of time and dedication. And they can be a drain on your mental health.
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