The Most Important Rant… Safety Concerns; No More LPCs.
I must say first off, in my research for this post I was shocked to find several articles written already about the subject of safety and LPCs. (light post skirt lifter caches) It would seem this is a legitimate concern no one seems to be taking seriously. I will refer you first to http://www.cachecrazy.com/2012/05/why-not-wednesday-johnnygeo-on.html . This blogger is a safety expert by trade and has several links to news articles involving severe injuries around electrical equipment. WARNING: very graphic pictures.
Secondly, another blogger also feels LPCs should be seen as a safety concern; http://www.progeocaching.com/2011/09/geocaches-that-can-kill/ The blogger here also makes some very valid points to ponder.
The subject was brought up in the Groundspeak forums, http://forums.groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=283355 but not because it was a safety concern because the poster felt it was causing damage to property. His concern was met with a bunch of nonsense drivel from other cachers, including “If you don’t like these don’t go for them” (Duh) . The thread continues for about 5 pages mostly people arguing back and forth on whether or not they like doing these types of caches.
After reading all the info I could find on the subject I am quite sure I will never again be choosing to find a LPC. If I thought Groundspeak would actually listen to cachers who contact them with safety concerns I would write to them as well, but my experience of dealing with Groundspeak is they really skip over the real issues responding with double talk and drivel answers to real concerns.
Let’s start with the fact that almost all LPCs are on private property. Now this should be reason enough to end the placement of them in parking lots but sadly no, as it turns out reviewers apparently are not capable of using google earth when reviewing caches. Just so we can make it clear here, a lamp post in a Wal-Mart parking lot belongs to Wal-mart, it is not public domain. A bonk on the head to any reviewers who couldn’t be bothered to do more than just peruse the description before publishing the cache. If a person was to get hurt doing these types of caches I would hope Groundspeak, the cache owner, and the cache reviewer are all named in the lawsuit.
I have said it before, this is a user based sport so it is up to the reviewers of caches to police hides, obviously we can not expect users (especially new ones) to do the right thing here, supposedly the so-called learned experienced reviewers are there to make sure no un-safe caches get published. When you click on a reviewer profile it will show you nothing what so ever of the caches they have published, perhaps if Groundspeak did list the unsafe caches they have published on their profiles they would have a better idea of who to fire when cachers get hurt because of reviewer negligence.
Now I know a lot of LPCs are probably safe, most lamp posts are probably insulated to avoid electro shock, but as I have seen in my research, we will never know which ones are safe and which ones are not. Is groundspeak going to pay for an electrical safety expert to come out to inspect the cache before getting published? Probably not, and if they had to do this I’m sure very few of these would actually be getting published.
So as it goes with everything else, such as bike helmets, or cell phones while driving, the law has to step in to insure the public’s safety because obviously common sense is not something everyone seems to have. But where is groundspeak in all of this? This is not the first time the subject has been brought up, and it most likely it wont be the last. Property owners should not have to write Groundspeak because of users trespassing on property, (BTW, if you are not a customer with legitimate business on the property you ARE trespassing) it should be up to reviewers to stop these caches in the first place before getting published.
The Bitchy Cacher is not exempt from a bonk on the head here, I will admit I have done LPCs , as I have said before some have even brought me to some interesting places. But if I had known about the safety concerns before of doing them, I certainly would have put them on the ignore list a long time ago.
Now to be fair, it is not only Groundspeak and reviewers, who have some responsibility here, the people who place these caches are also to blame of course, (don’t worry I have not forgotten about the biggest boneheads in all of this). What is wrong with you? couldnt you be bothered to look for a better spot? Did you really think people would want to find a parking lot? I’ll bet you don’t get a lot of logs that say “lovely spot for a cache!”. they most likely read “quick find while out buying some dog food for the geo-pooch” I would also wager you don’t get a lot of favorite points or logs that read much more than “TFTC”. If you can see your caches in this post, it is time to archive them, don’t take the risk just because no one has gotten injured so far, it does not mean it will not happen in the future. Do you want to be responsible for another cachers injuries or loss of income because you felt you need to hide a LPC? It is time we pressured groundspeak to do what is right here, and if they can not be persuaded, perhaps a good old fashioned local boycott of these types of hides would work. Feel free to put a link to my blog in your notes of local LPCs in your area, perhaps this is something that needs to go global before users (and groundspeak) will see this as a legitimate concern. Just say “No!” to LPCs.