The familiar sound of a lawn mower on a hot summer day may seem harmless, but sometimes this means danger for approaching motorcycles, bicycles and even vehicles. Grass and grass clippings are about 85 percent water. It doesn’t matter if those clippings are wet or dry - when they’re in the street, experts say they can be a danger to anyone traveling on the road - especially motorcyclists. When grass clippings come between a motorcycle’s tires and the pavement, things can get scary. Especially on curves, a motorcyclist needs a contact patch between the tires and the asphalt. When anything else goes into that area, it’s a safety risk.
You may have never thought about it, but grass clippings can act as a sheet of ice in the middle of the summer. Motorcyclists may have to take safety measures to avoid wiping out. They may slow down, switch lanes, or cross over a double yellow line to avoid grass clippings. Since grass clippings are majority water, when tires from a car or motorcycle have clippings between them and the roadway, things can get out of control pretty quick.
IS IT ILLEGAL?
Grass clippings on the road are not only dangerous, but in many municipalities, illegal. That’s right! It may be illegal to leave those excess clippings on the roadway in many places. As an example, Little Rock, Arkansas municipal code confirms in fact, it is a misdemeanor:
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to cast, throw, drop, place, or otherwise cause or permit to be located upon, in, or about any public street, sidewalk, alley or public thoroughfare, or any private or public property adjacent thereto, any litter, refuse or debris.
(b) It shall be unlawful for any person hauling, by any type vehicles, dirt, trash, refuse, junk, garbage or litter and to allow or permit such or any portion thereof to fall, drop, be tracked, or otherwise placed, left, or deposited upon any street or sidewalk of this city.
Clippings can not only pose a drainage/sewage problem, but also a danger for motorcyclists. Often they are the ones that pay the price. Since about 2004 over 4,000 people have died every year up to 2014 in motorcycle accidents. In 2007 and 2008 deaths exceeded 5000 per year. Many of these were due to litter on the roads - including grass.
Grass clippings are often blown or left in the road and can lead to serious injuries or even death for those that ride. If you are caught doing this, and your city or county has an ordinance against it, you could be charged with a misdemeanor and could face a fine, and/or jail time.
YOU HAVE OPTIONS
According to the New York Times, leaving grass clippings on the lawn is a “beneficial practice.” This allows the clippings to decompose naturally. However, some homeowners prefer to either get rid of those clippings or leave them in the roadway, which is a combination of laziness, carelessness, and neglect. Here are some alternate uses of grass clippings:
Raised gardening beds
MOW AND BLOW IN THE KNOW
Spartan Mowers encourages everyone to be aware and to mow responsibly. It’s very easy to cut your grass in a way that doesn’t blow the clippings the wrong way. You can cut the grass so that the discharge chute is aimed back at the yard. And if you don't want the clippings in your yard, simply rake them up. When you use a blower, send your clippings in the right direction as well. Another great option is using a bagger system, available at any of our Spartan Dealerships. A bagger will eliminate ANY discharge issue.
Be a responsible citizen and a good neighbor and make certain that you don't leave clippings in the street. Mow responsibly! Spartan Mowers thanks you, and those of us travelling on the road thank you.