Boise River float season is officially here! Between and Labor Day, hundreds of tubes, kayaks and paddle boards will parade by as they make the six-mile trek from Barber Park to Ann Morrison Park.
Of course, floaters aren’t the only Treasure Valley residents enjoying the Boise River this time of year. So are bridge jumpers. You know, those brave souls that will climb over one of the many rivers bridge crisscrossing the Boise River and plunge into the chilly waters below. It’s another fun way to enjoy the Boie River without having to pay rental fees for rafts or coordinate parking. Unfortunately, not everyone is doing it just to have fun and cool down.
Often, bridge jumpers will wait until floaters are near enough to splash and then take the plunge. The most common place you’ll see that is at the Babrook Court Bridge, aka the “orange bridge” by the Warm Springs Golf Course. It’s not uncommon to hear laughter after you see a raft get soaked by a floater, but is bridge jumping during float season even legal?
Sort of. It depends on where you end up landing. Lad far enough away from floaters and you’re in the clear. Land within 50 feet of a raft or tube? You could be facing a fine. Boise City Code reveals that landing too close to a river floater can result in a $100 infraction if you’re caught. That seems like a dumb way to lose $100, but you have to admit that paying that fine is a lot better than being charged with a misdemeanor.
That’s how the city code read until 2012 when the Boise Police made a proposition to decriminalize bridge jumping. If you’ve witnessed the bridge jumpers near Baybrook Court, you know that most of them are kids and teenagers. It would help them cut down on how much time and how many resources they were putting into processing teens having fun through the juvenile justice system. The change was approved and now you’ll only be charged if you were found to be purposely trying to cause harm or injury to a floater.
Bridge Jumping Results in Floaters Being Hospitalized
A bridge jumper DID cause serious harm to a man and his son last summer, but first responders didn’t get his name before he left the scene. Both of the floaters were taken to the hospital to be treated for head and knee injuries. As far as we know, that person was never caught. The family filed a tort claim against the City of Boise and the Fire Department and said the fire department was negligent for not getting the bridge jumper’s name. We don’t know how that played out, but the family was seeing $100,000.
Bridge Jumpers Could Recieve Multiple Citations
In addition to the infraction for landing too close to floaters, bridge jumpers also risk being cited for obstructing the Greenbelt and bridges that cross it. City code defines obstructing a path as:
Standing more than two people deep along the railing or side of any bridge or along the side of any bridge accessway. Alternatively, "obstruct" means to occupy all or such portion of the path, lane, sidewalk, or road, as to block or delay more than momentarily safe passage of another person or vehicle using the path, lane, sidewalk or road lawfully and carefully.
Those are just a few helpful reminders to help make Boise River float season fun and safe for floaters, jumpers and people who love the Greenbelt!