As Snowmobile Safety Week continues across the province, police are reminding snowmobile enthusiasts to be mindful of the changing weather conditions and unpredictable ice.
The OPP reports that 27 people died in the 2016-2017 season across Ontario and another seven people have died already this season. They indicate speeding, driving too fast, consuming alcohol, or riding on unsafe ice are among risky behaviours that contribute to snowmobile related injuries or deaths each winter.
Although there have been no serious injuries in Durham Region this year, three of the seven fatalities across Ontario this season were a result of snowmobiles falling through the ice on waterways.
DRPS is reminding riders to stick to using Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) approved trails, especially since ice conditions on waterways can be unpredictable with rising and falling temperatures this winter.
You can ride on your own private property, on private property owned by someone else but with their permission, or if it's a private trail owned by an organization that you are a member of. You may ride along public roads between the shoulder and the fence line (not on the shoulder) if it is allowed. Check your municipality's bylaws. Riders can face fines up to $1,000.
No one can ride on certain high-speed roadways, including the 400 series highways and the travelled portion (from shoulder to shoulder) of a public road, except when crossing at a 90-degree angle.
Here are a few more tips to keep you safe this season:
*If you are a beginner, make sure you know how to operate your machine safely before heading out
*Obey speed limits and road/trail signs. Lower your speed when travelling at night
*Check local weather conditions before leaving for your destination and be prepared for the conditions
*Bring a cellphone and emergency kit with you in case of a break-down
*It is against the law to drive a snowmobile while impaired by alcohol or drugs
*Anyone who drives or rides on a snowmobile must wear a helmet that meets the standards approved for motorcycle helmets
*Be aware of your surroundings. Icy trails, heavy snow falls and strong winds can impede your ability to operate the vehicle.
More tips can be found on the Ministry of Transportation website here
Snowmobiles (JPG file, 409.7K bytes)