ROCKFORD, Mich. (WZZM) -- City and county crews have been busy trying to keep the public streets clear around West Michigan. Streets and highways are icy due to the weather conditions and cold temperatures.
While public roads are plowed and salted, some private roads are treated with the money its residents pitch in to their homeowners association -- if they choose to do so. And some of those associations my not think salt is necessary or be willing to spend the money.
Carlos Rodriquez, plow company owner, says the main reason so many private roads resemble skating rinks is that homeowners and condo associations don't want to pay extra for salt.
"Everything in life is all about money basically when it comes to this kind of stuff," Rodriquez says. "You got to put salt down and treat it so it doesn't get built up."
"It's dangerous for the kids. They have to walk from the bus to home and they are slipping and sliding on the streets," says Bill Bowers, who lives on a private drive. "My wife stopped at the corner but because of the ice on the street she slid out onto 10 Mile Road with no control of the car. I immediately called the association."
Unlike some municipalities that require residents to at least keep sidewalks safe and clear, there are no state laws that force residents to remove snow and ice from their private roads. And there doesn't appear to be much risk for homeowners on private roads, if someone slips and falls on an untreated or partially cleared pavement.
Under state law, it's assumed Michigan residents know snow and ice are hazardous and it's up to individuals to take precautions. Cooley law professor Nelson Miller says the natural accumulation defense protects Michigan property owners. If it's a natural accumulation of snow and ice the land owner doesn't have any liability.
"These days its very difficult for the injured person to win a trip and fall or a slip and fall claim in Michigan," Miller says. "The way the Michigan supreme court put it recently we live above the 42nd parallel and so we here in Michigan are familiar with icing and snow and should take care for ourselves."