Questions over "The Rinks at Canalside" mandatory waiver

Posted at 6:19 PM, Nov 29, 2018

Thousands of skaters hit the ice at "The Rinks at Canalside" each winter.  This year--just like the past four seasons--everyone who's hit the ice has had to sign a waiver before lacing up their skates.

Thursday morning, Canalside sent this tweet encouraging people to sign a waiver online beforehand to save time.

But Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz tweeted back saying he doesn't "agree with the public being required to sign a waiver to skate and enjoy a public facility."

A spokesperson for Poloncarz said the County Executive isn't commenting beyond his tweet.  

Canalside defended its policy saying: 

Canalside Management Group is committed to conducting public skating, curling, ice bikes and ice bumper cars in a safe manner and requires participants follow rules for their own wellbeing.   However, there is an inherent risk of injury when visitors to Canalside  participate in these activities.  The waiver we require helps minimize the cost of insurance, which results in lower ticket prices for the thousands of people who enjoy the rink each year.

7 Eyewitness News legal analyst Florina Altshiler said a waiver actually does little to protect an entity that requires people to pay like Canalside.

"Sometimes companies will have patrons sign waivers.  The effect of that waiver does a little more with social thinking than it does legally. People may dissuaded from perusing any sort of lawsuit or legal claim because they think they can't pursue that claim," Alshiler said.  She continued, "But really with a facility that charges a few to participate, they cannot sign their negligence away."

Other rinks like the nearby HarborCenter and Riverworks also require skaters to sign waivers.

Rotary Rink, which was run by Buffalo Place and offers free skating downtown to the public does not.


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