By DAVID EGGERT
LANSING (AP) – Michigan lawmakers on Wednesday moved to put in place rules for burgeoning indoor trampoline parks where adults and kids can bounce around as much as they like for a fee.
Legislation approved 25-12 almost entirely along party lines in the Republican-led state Senate would specify requirements to be followed by trampoline court operators and customers.
Trampoliners would have to maintain reasonable control of their body, avoid contact with others, not run, keep from acting in a way that could injure others and avoid landing on their head or neck. People could not participate if they have a preexisting medical condition, and facilities would have to follow safety procedures and tell customers the rules in advance.
The bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Dave Hildenbrand of Lowell, said he introduced it after being approached by Sky Zone. The company has opened trampoline parks in his Grand Rapids-area district and suburban Detroit, with plans to open four more in Kalamazoo, Lansing, Novi and Macomb’s County Shelby Township.
The parks are billed as a “seemingly endless sea of trampolines” on the Sky Zone website, with angled trampolines letting people “literally bounce off the walls.” Dodge ball and fitness classes are available, too.
“There’s an inherent risk of injury when you have that kind of equipment around,” Hildenbrand said. “They were having problems with customers breaking their rules and then getting hurt. They had attorneys after them.”
He said the measure is modeled after a similar law for roller skating rinks, and he applauded Sky Zone for employing 75 people at the park in Kentwood outside Grand Rapids.
But Democrats, along with one Republican, voted against the legislation that is opposed by plaintiffs’ lawyers. They said it would offer operators too much protection against lawsuits.
“If a person goes on a trampoline and breaks their leg, there’s a question of whether (the operator) should be given some sort of liability exception,” said Sen. Steve Bieda, a Warren Democrat who expressed concern that the bill was not handled by the Judiciary Committee and instead cleared the Economic Development Committee.
Hildenbrand countered that those injured while following the rules would still have legal recourse.
The legislation now goes to the GOP-controlled House for consideration.
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