“Car… Game Off…” – Is It Safe To Play Hockey and Other Sports On The Street?

Playing hockey or other street sports and outdoor activities may or may not be legal depending on where you live in Canada. There are still many municipalities, and other places, where by-laws (even if they are not commonly enforced) prohibit playing games on local roads and sidewalks.

Those who support the enactment and enforcement of bans that prohibit playing games on city streets may argue that safety and liability concerns are issues that cannot be overlooked. Blocking the flow of traffic, for example, is not safe and not to be encouraged. A municipality or other body such as a condominium corporation may be exposed to liability if its negligent acts or omissions result in a person being injured while playing sports or games on its streets (or property).

The counter argument, such as that raised by Ontario’s former Minister of Children and Youth Services, is that “things such as communication and social skills, an understanding of social rules, relationship building, learning how to compromise with others, patience and perseverance, teamwork and a sense of belonging” are benefits that go well beyond the obvious health related benefits.

Whether or not a by-law exists, and whether or not that by-law is enforced, it is important to exercise caution when playing in the street. Playing on residential streets or those with lower and/or community based speed limits ought to be preferred. Playing in clothing, or in areas, or at times, of reduced visibility should be discouraged.

While a common sense approach can help keep street sports and activities safe, a personal injury lawyer can help protect your rights, or the rights of your loved one, in the unlikely event that an accident does occur.

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