Snowmobile Safety - Too Many Deaths This Year

March 14, 2019, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

Person Riding Motorcycle on Road Getting out on snow machines is a huge part of winter for many Canadians. There are extensive maintained trail networks throughout the provinces, clubs that administer the permitting and maintenance of the trails ensuring safety, and a large number of people who rely on snow machines to do their jobs in the winter.

Sadly though, we hear each year of tragedies involving snow machines, which have grown more and more powerful over the years. Speed and drug/alcohol impairment play a role in many of the crashes. The machines which now can travel well over 100 k/h are fun to ride and its easy to forget that unlike a car they don’t offer any protection in the event of a crash to the riders.

There were several deaths in February in Ontario including drownings, crashing into bridge abutments, and loss of control. The majority of the deaths have been in the traditional cottage country and farther north of Ontario. While last year we saw several deaths of riders attempting to cross highways this year the accidents seem more related to speed and conditions.

According to the law in Ontario all riders require insurance on public property and trails. Riders also require:

Everyone who drives a snowmobile in Ontario must:

  • be at least 12 years old
  • have a valid driver's licence or motorized snow vehicle operator's licence (see below)
  • register the snowmobile with the Ministry of Transportation
  • have insurance

Where you can drive a snowmobile depends on your age and the licence you hold.

Licensing & document requirements

Drivers must carry the following documents with them at all times:

  • your driver's licence, a valid motorized snow vehicle operator's licence (MSVOL) or a snowmobile driver's licence from another jurisdiction
  • snowmobile registration permit
  • insurance card

If you don't have a driver's licence and you're 12 years of age or older, a valid MSVOL will allow you to drive a snowmobile on trails. Contact your local snowmobile club to get more information about the MSVOL program or visit the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs website.

Failing to produce any of these documents to a police officer or conservation officer when asked could result in a fine of up to $1,000.

 Safety tips for when you are riding your snow machine include:

  • Know and understand and obey the law
  • Wear a helmet and carry all safety gear you require including a cell or sat phone, map or GPS, dry clothes, high energy snacks, a saw/knife, whistle, flashlight, matches in a waterproof container,  and ice spikes if you travel on water
  • Take a snowmobile safety course. You will likely learn something new, or be reminded of something you forgot
  • Have a plan for your trip and leave it with someone who is staying at home
  • Ride respectfully. Don’t crowd other drivers or groomers. Stay on the trails – the snow can be really soft off trail and deep enough that you sink
  • Ride on the right just like you drive on the road
  • Use caution riding at night



Posted under Accident Benefit News, Automobile Accident Benefits, Snow Mobiles, traumatic brain injury

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Deutschmann Law serves South-Western Ontario with offices in Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Woodstock, Brantford, Stratford and Ayr. The law practice of Robert Deutschmann focuses almost exclusively in personal injury and disability insurance matters. For more information, please visit or call us toll-free at 1-866-414-4878.

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