Bounced out of Town: City Parks Bounce House Ban in Contra Costa County


City of Hercules enacts ban on fun

HERCULES, CA. — City officials in the small Northern California town unanimously adopted a business killing resolution to ban inflatable play structures “bounce houses” at City parks and/or facilities due to “liability concerns”.

What will they ban next in Contra Costa county, jogging, bike riding, and… aerobics?

During the meeting the City’s council also directed the city staff to draft an ordinance to attach monetary fines and penalties against violators.

Parks and Recreation Director Pedro Jimenez said the city’s concern over bounce house liability has been plaguing Hercules for years following a single indecent which caused the city some undisclosed level of liability.

The issue was first discussed in 2004, he said, and the city agreed to require permits for inflatable jumpers in the park — and restricted the number to two per park at a time. Then in 2008, Hercules stopped issuing the permits altogether because the city’s insurance agency does not provide liability coverage for the inflatable jumpers.

Even if inflatable company owners offer insurance, the coverage may not be enough, and if someone gets hurt at a city park and then sues the city, the city would be financially liable, he said.

However, my opinion as an insurance agent who does provide liability coverage for inflatable jumpers with additional insured endorsements naming the  city as additional insured with up to $2,000,000 coverage per claim, the ban limited to parks is  arbitrary, overreaching and shows a lack of care for park users, local businesses, and fun for kids.

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Signs will advise park visitors of the ban, and Parks and Recreation personnel will patrol the parks and fine violators. City workers will also advise local businesses that rent the inflatables of the new restrictions to their business.

Read more on Contra Costa Times West County Times or watch the video and hear for yourself, city officials providing little – if any – reason for banning the city’s children from bounce house fun in a park.