Greensboro, NC -- Recently two folks, including Janeez Reddick, emailed about grass clippings. Janeez writes, "Is it illegal to blow your grass trimmings into the road? Example: A moped or motorcycle rider is going down the road, comes up on the grass trimmings and has an accident (they are slippery and cut like glass not to mention can cause serious eye injury). Who is responsible?"
The answer is yes - it is illegal. In Greensboro it's against a city ordinance to have your grass clippings on the road. But not because of driver dangers. There's another danger.
David Phlager with Greensboro's water department says, "Too much of anything organic is not good for a stream including grass clippings. Once they degrade and break down, they release a lot of nitrogen, a lot of nutrients into the water source. We already have a high nutrient source anyway. Adding all that excess nutrients only harms our water that much more."
Grass clippings get into streams through storm water drains. That violates a Greensboro city ordinance. After three violations, you could be fined. But David says a simple conversation usually does the trick.
As for the road danger, Phlager says, "A motorcyclist like anyone else any other driver on the road is going to have to watch out for any other road hazard. Not to put the onus back on the operator there but that's really where the burden falls. How to operate a safe motorcycle, how to operate a safe vehicle. You see a hazard in the road, you try to avoid it."
Phlegar says the nutrients in the grass clippings are good for your yard-- so blow or sweep them back in...not into the street or driveway.