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Homeowners must keep sidewalks clear of snow

On Sunday afternoon, I took my dog for a walk on one of the first non-freezing days in nearly two weeks. As we traveled a major road, I saw that about half of the sidewalks had not been shoveled. The many pedestrians in the area had left much uneven ground from walking on the four or so inches of snow that clearly had not seen a shovel, so I walked carefully. This was not good enough, however, because in front of one house, I lost my footing and twisted my knee so badly that I temporarily dislocated it. I got home four hours later, after an ambulance ride to the emergency room, from which they sent me with crutches, an immobilizer and a prescription for Motrin. My insurance will leave me with about $400 in co-pays, and although I can work, I can’t drive with the immobilizer.

I am very grateful to the woman in the maroon SUV who lent me her phone and held my dog’s leash until my husband and the EMTs arrived, as well as the paramedics and emergency room staff for their prompt and professional care.

I realize I am lucky: I was outside for leisure, and my injury should heal quickly. But instead of me, it could have been someone who has no choice but to walk to work, the bus or the store; it could have been someone whose injury could prevent her from caring for her children or performing her job; it could have happened to someone late at night with no one around to offer help.

So in short, if you have a sidewalk in front of your residence, please keep it shoveled. By the time I left the ER, the sidewalk where I fell had been cleared, but it’s a shame that it took an injured pedestrian and a team of paramedics to get the homeowner to do it.

Lisa Neilson

Cheektowaga