Rules for clearing snow and ice off sidewalks

Leaving a snow-covered sidewalk is illegal and can be very dangerous

Snow shoveler

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP)- Once the snow stops falling, it’s important to shovel your sidewalk within 24 hours.

Leaving a snow-covered sidewalk is illegal and can be very dangerous.

“I do know people that are disabled who are in wheelchairs, which is really a huge challenge for people to get through even to get to the store or to leave their house for any reason,” said Sara Howard of Amherst.

More Massachusetts cities and towns have been setting their own ordinances and bylaws requiring property owners to keep their sidewalks clear for pedestrians. Northampton is one of them.

Every city and town Massachusetts has different laws when it comes to clearing snow from sidewalks. In Northampton, you could be fined $50 if you don’t clear the sidewalk 24 hours after a snowstorm hits.

The Northampton Police Department received more than 60 complaints so far this winter reporting unshoveled sidewalks.

Northampton Police Officer Clay Delano said, “The sidewalks are used on a daily basis, whether its kids going to school, waiting for the bus, people going to work, all of the above. It’s just important to keep everything cleared, keep it safe to make their way through to wherever they may be going.”

Property owners can be held legally responsible in Massachusetts, if someone were to injure themselves on an unshoveled sidewalk.

Officer Delano told 22News they usually issue a written warning before they write a ticket and impose a fine.