General Laws of Rhode Island
TITLE 32. PARKS AND RECREATIONAL AREAS
CHAPTER 6. PUBLIC USE OF PRIVATE LANDS — LIABILITY
R.I. Gen. Laws § 32-6-1 (2017)
§ 32-6-1. Purpose of chapter
The purpose of this chapter is to encourage owners of land to make land and water areas available to the public for recreational purposes by limiting their liability to persons entering thereon for those purposes.
§ 32-6-2. Definitions
As used in this chapter:
(1) “Charge” means the admission price or fee asked in return for invitation or permission to enter or go upon the land;
(2) “Land” means land, roads, water, watercourses, private ways and buildings, structures, and machinery or equipment when attached to the realty;
(3) “Owner” means the private-owner possessor of a fee interest, or tenant, lessee, occupant, or person in control of the premises, including the state and municipalities;
(4) “Recreational purposes” includes, but is not limited to, any of the following, or any combination thereof: hunting, fishing, swimming, boating, camping, picnicking, hiking, horseback riding, bicycling, pleasure driving, nature study, water skiing, water sports, viewing or enjoying historical, archaeological, scenic, or scientific sites, and all other recreational purposes contemplated by this chapter; and
(5) “User” means any person using land for recreational purposes.
Except as specifically recognized by or provided in § 32-6-5, an owner of land who either directly or indirectly invites or permits without charge any person to use that property for recreational purposes does not thereby:
(1) Extend any assurance that the premises are safe for any purpose;
(2) Confer upon that person the legal status of an invitee or licensee to whom a duty of care is owed; nor
(3) Assume responsibility for or incur liability for any injury to any person or property caused by an act of omission of that person.
Unless otherwise agreed in writing, the provisions of § 32-6-3 and this section shall be deemed applicable to the duties and liability of an owner of land leased to the state or any subdivision or agency thereof or land that the state or any subdivision or agency thereof possesses an easement for recreational purposes.
(a) Nothing in this chapter limits in any way any liability that, but for this chapter, otherwise exists:
(1) For the willful or malicious failure to guard or warn against a dangerous condition, use, structure, or activity after discovering the user’s peril; or
(2) For any injury suffered in any case where the owner of land charges the person or persons who enter or go on the land for the recreational use thereof, except that in the case of land leased to the state or a subdivision thereof, any consideration received by the owner for that lease shall not be deemed a “charge” within the meaning of this section.
(b) When the coastal resources management council designates a right-of-way as part of its designation process as specified in § 46-23-6(5), or when the coastal resources management council stipulates public access as a condition of granting a permit, the landowner automatically will have “limited liability” as defined in this chapter, except as specifically recognized by or provided in this section.
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to:
(1) Create a duty of care or ground of liability for an injury to persons or property;
(2) Relieve any person using the land of another for recreational purposes from any obligation that he or she may have in the absence of this chapter to exercise care in his or her use of that land and in his or her activities thereon, or from the legal consequences of the failure to employ that care; or
(3) Create a public or prescriptive right or easement running with the land.
Rhode Island Skier Safety Act
General Laws of Rhode Island
TITLE 41. SPORTS, RACING, AND ATHLETICS
CHAPTER 8. RESPONSIBILITY AND LIABILITY OF SKI OPERATORS AND SKIERS
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R.I. Gen. Laws § 41-8-1 (2012)
§ 41-8-1. Duties of ski area operators
It shall be the duty of a ski area operator to comply with the following requirements and regulations:
(1) Whenever maintenance equipment is being employed upon any trail or slope while the trail or slope is open to the public, the ski operator shall place or cause to be placed, notice to that effect at or near the top of any tramway or surface lift servicing any trail or slope in the area being maintained.
(2) The ski area operator shall also have the duty to maintain and to identify all trail maintenance vehicles and to furnish the vehicles with flashing or rotating lights, which lights shall be operated during the time that the vehicles are working the trails or slopes, and likewise during the time the vehicle is in movement from its normal and customary storage location to any other point within the ski area.
(3) With respect to the emergency use of motor driven vehicles within the ski area, including, but not limited to, uses for purposes of removing injured or stranded skiers, or performing emergency maintenance or repair work to slopes, trails, or tramway equipment, the ski area operator shall not be required to post such signs as is required by subdivision (1), but shall be required to maintain such lighting equipment required by subdivision (2).
(4) All snowmobiles operated on the trails or slopes of the ski area shall be equipped with a lighting device, which device shall be in operation while the vehicle is in operation.
(5) The ski area shall likewise have the responsibility to mark the location of any hydrants used in snow making operations and located within or upon a slope or trail.
(6) Ski area operators shall maintain and operate, or cause to be maintained and operated, the ski areas under the control in a reasonably safe condition or manner, and shall be required to maintain a sign system on all buildings, tramways, ski trails, and slopes.
§ 41-8-2. Duties of a skier
(a) It shall be the duty of each skier to conduct himself or herself within the limitation of his or her ability, and to do no act or thing which can contribute to the injury of him or herself or others.
(b) No skier shall:
(1) Embark or disembark upon a ski lift except at a designated area and during designated hours of operation;
(2) Throw or expel any object from any tramway, ski lift, skimobile, or other similar device while riding on the device;
(3) Act in any manner while riding on a rope tow, wire rope tow, j-bar, t-bar, ski lift, or similar device that may interfere with the proper or safe operation of the lift or tow;
(4) Willfully engage in any type of conduct which may injure any person, or place any object in the uphill ski track which may cause another to fall, while traveling uphill on a ski lift; or
(5) Cross the uphill track of a j-bar, t-bar, rope tow, wire rope tow, or other similar device except at designated locations.
(c) Every skier shall maintain control of his or her speed and course at all times, and shall stay clear of any snow grooming equipment, any vehicle, any lift tower, any snowmaking equipment, and any other equipment.
(d) A skier shall be the sole judge of his or her ability to negotiate any cross country track, trail, or slope.
(e) A skier shall be the sole judge of his or her ability to negotiate any downhill track, trail, or slope.
(f) Any skier who boards a rope tow, wire rope tow, j-bar, t-bar, ski lift, or other similar device, shall be presumed to have sufficient abilities to use the device, and shall follow any written or verbal instructions that are given regarding its use.
(g) A skier skiing downhill shall have the primary duty to avoid any collision with any other skier below him or her, and except as otherwise provided in this chapter, the responsibility for collisions by any skier with any other skier or person shall be solely that of the skier or skiers or person involved and not that of the operator;
(h) No spectators are to be allowed on areas specifically designated as skiing areas.
(i) Any person skiing on other than improved trails or slopes within the area shall be responsible for any injuries resulting from his or her action.
(j) Any skier embarking on a lift or tow without authority of the operator shall be guilty of trespassing.
(k) All skiers shall, prior to their entrance onto the trails or slopes, or embarking on any lift or tramway, have attached or on their skis, a device for the purpose of restraining or preventing a runaway ski.
(l) No skier shall ski on a slope or trail or portion thereof which has been designated closed, nor ski on other than identified trails, slopes, or trail areas.
(m) The primary responsibility for the collision with any obstruction, man made or otherwise, shall be that of the skier and not that of the operator.
(n) Any owner, manager, or employee of any ski area who finds a person in violation of this section, may first issue a verbal warning to that individual or suspend his or her recreational tramway privileges. Any person who fails to heed the warning issued by the owner or employee or agent of the operator shall forfeit his or her recreational tramway ticket and recreational tramway use privileges and be refused issuance of another ticket to the recreational tramway.
§ 41-8-3. Leaving the scene of an accident
Any person who is involved in a skiing accident and who departs from the scene of the accident without leaving personal identification or otherwise clearly identifying himself or herself before notifying the proper authorities or obtaining assistance, knowing that any other person involved in the accident is in need of medical or other assistance, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine of not more than two hundred dollars ($ 200).
§ 41-8-4. Severability
The provisions of this chapter are severable, and if any of its provisions shall be held unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction, the decision of the court shall not affect or impair any of the remaining provisions.