MAILBAG: Are there sprinkling laws?

John of Grand Haven Township asked, "Are there any ordinances regarding the sprinkling of sidewalks and roadways"
Mark Brooky
Aug 29, 2012


ys? I have noticed a lot of businesses and residences that have their sprinklers watering the roadway and sidewalks. In one instance, I saw a young mother pushing a baby in a stroller that had to go into the roadway in order to avoid the sprinkler that was all over the sidewalk. This could be a very dangerous situation. I have also seen cars swerve into an opposing lane in order to avoid a sprinkler watering the roadway. I’ve seen this happening in the city as well as Grand Haven Township."


The simple answer, John, is no. The chief administrators in the city and township have a little more to add.

Grand Haven Township Manager Bill Cargo: "No, we do not have any rule or regulation that prohibits a sprinkler from 'watering' a sidewalk, pathway or street."

Grand Haven City Manager Pat McGinnis: "There are no specific ordinances on the books in the city that address this issue. If a complaint were received on a specific property, it may qualify as a nuisance that could be abated, usually via a simple request of the property owner. Complaints may be directed to the city manager's office (by e-mail) at"

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This falls right into the complaints that have been voiced lately about bikes in the road! Perfect example. Travel the "bike path" any morning between Lincoln and Ferris along Lake Shore Drive and any number of property owners are hosing the path as if they expect it to grow like their lawn! One just north of Lincoln on the east side of Lake Shore results in a large puddle in their driveway and path EVERY DAY between 7-8am! Can you say trying to get to work on my bike dry?
Another one just north of Ferris, has not checked their sprinklers all summer because every morning one of them is stuck spraying out into Lake Shore and not their lawn!
And there are many other businesses on Comstock and 168th, by the airport, that have numerous sprinklers in the afternoon that are spraying across the path preventing travel along the paths. The particular business I am referring to has a large hedge on the north side, with sprinklers on the south side of the path. There is no way to avoid getting "hosed" if you stay on the "bike path"!
Then if you don't use the "bike path" you get honked at and ridiculed.
There should be a law that prevents spraying across the "bike path" of any lawn watering device. That is rude, inconsiderate of anyone else that wants to use the "bike path" and a waste of water. The "bike path" is not going to grow!
If drivers want bicyclists to use the "bike path", quit watering the path while people are trying to ride on it during the day.
This goes right along with the fact that, in Grand Haven Township, you have no right of way what so ever if you ride bike ON THE "Bike Path"! That is an ordinance!

Tri-cities realist

GH55 I have a suggestion. Instead of ranting here, why don't you knock on the door of the house on Lakeshore that has been watering the road all summer, and inform them about their misguided sprinkler? Perhaps they are not home when their sprinklers are running, and would welcome you informing them of that fact. As for the rest of the homes and businesses watering the bike path, perhaps their sprinkling system was installed prior to the construction of the bike path. Do you realize how costly it can be to rearrange sprinklers? And just because a little water gets sprayed on the bike path? What do you do on the days that it rains? Or should we require home owners and businesses to install awnings over the bike path for you, so you don't get wet? Yes, rediculous. I'm just illustrating absurdity by being absurd. Here's one final serious suggestion. Why not make a little game out of avoiding the sprinklers that are spraying the bike path. By pedaling strategically I bet you could avoid getting sprayed at all, since not all sprinklers will be spraying the bike path at the same time. This added mental exercise on your way to work will energize your brain in preparation for the day's tasks. Your welcome, and I'd love to hear how this helps you by overcoming obstacles, rather than blaming someone else.


GH55.... It's completely ridiculous to think that more laws are gonna fix your problem. Tell ya what...while we are making that ridiculous law...lets make some new laws that ban gum being spit out on the side walk because it's ugly and sticks to my shoes...or spitting thats nasty! Maybe we should create a law that says idling your car to warm it up this coming winter is illegal since it releases excessive carbon into the air, waste gas and disturbs your rest after a hard night of work. Or even better...lets put a stop to people chewing with their mouths open, or farting while standing at a urinal in a mens room. I mean .... those examples are no doubt rude or wasteful. and there should be a laws to stop it....right?

That said, I'm guessing your not the wicked witch of the east or anything so whats a few drops of water? Trust me, you are not going to melt. Maybe it's how you look at it...I mean, I've always looked at those drops of water as refreshing and invigorating during my bike ride. If getting a little wet bothers you to the point that you think we need new laws....maybe you should wear a rain coat while on your bike...sweating.


That all sounds crazy don't it? Well thats because those suggestions are crazy and they make as much sense as creating more laws to appease you and your irrational fear of a few drops of water. On a serious note... how about just having what it takes to politely inform the people who own the sprinklers that they are broken, or set up incorrectly...You just might be surprised how life changing being straight up, polite and unafraid can be.


load up the city manager's mailbox with hundreds of complaints- about the City watering the sidewalks and streets. Yeah, we need water nazis like we need more civilian patrol (oxymoron).


I guess I am sorry I went on too much. I did not ask for any laws, I was merely asking for some consideration. People don't want bikes in the road, and they don't care if they flood the path built to provide that alternative off street route.
I don't think it is unreasonable to expect that on days it is not raining, that the people using the paths should not expect to arrive at their destinations dry. That goes for those on their bikes and people walking. Would you expect a parent walking their infants in a stroller to endure a good hosing down by these sprinklers?
No, we don't need water nazis or any other nazis, we just need a bit of consideration for those around us. That's probably why "John of Grand Haven Township" asked about the laws in the first place.


I ride the bike paths mostly on 168th, Ferris Street, and Mercury Drive. And I constantly have to go off the beaten path and that means having to go out in the street to avoid these people who water down the path with their sprinklers. I know they think its a big laugh and they have their own agenda and do not care if they are endangering bikers, walkers/joggers and most importantly parents out walking their newborn babies in strollers and also their children. Let me give you the big clue here. Absolutely nothing will grow on asphalt. It's been proven time and time again. NOTHING WILL GROW ON ASPHALT!! Got it? So why are you watering down the path?


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