Grass clippings in the roadway can cause nightmare for motorcyclists

Published: Aug. 30, 2018 at 6:28 PM EDT
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For many, grass clippings are a sign of a well manicured lawn — but for motorcyclists, these clippings are a nightmare.

Joe Showker has been riding motorcycles since 1971, and he compares driving over grass clippings to driving over ice.

"I've had many experiences where I've had to brake or I've been going around a turn," Showker said, "and I can feel myself losing traction because of the condition of the road."

"If you're following a vehicle and you have to slow down to stop, or there's children in the road, or even the mower, in the road, you can't stop in time with this pavement condition."

But leaving these clippings in the road is not just dangerous for cyclists — it is also against the law.

According to the Code of Virginia 18.2-324, "nor shall any person throw or deposit or cause to be deposited upon any highway any soil, sand, mud, gravel or other substances so as to create a hazard to the traveling public."

Breaking this law is a Class 1 misdemeanor, and according to Cpl. Wayne Westfall, with Harrisonburg Police Department, it could result in a fine and jail time.

"Maximum penalty for a Class 1 misdemeanor is a $2,500 fine and 12 month incarceration in a jail," Westfall said.

He said he has made people of the city clean up their grass clippings and informed them of the law.

But aside from the legal aspect, Showker just wants people to be mindful the next time they mow their grass.

"Think before you mow," he said, "and let's keep everyone safe on the highway."