Snowmobile Season is Here – are you ready?

December 20, 2018, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

The first fatality in Ontario’s snowmobile season has already occurred. The body of 33-year-old Scott McPherson was snowmobiling north of Kingston on November 24. He was last seen around 7 pm near Wesporo when he was last seen.

When he was reported missing the search began. The Underwater Search and Recovery Unit, The Snowmobile and ATV Vessel Enforcement Team and the Emergency Response Team were all involved. Mr. McPherson was known as an avid outdoorsman and was known to enjoy riding across the lakes in the area. Friends had said he was going out ‘skipping on water’ that night. Skipping involves hydroplaning across open water on lakes and rivers. His body was recovered from Sand Lake.

OPP reiterate that this is an extremely dangerous activity with no margin for error. It is still too early to be riding snow machines on most of southern lake Ontario’s bodies of water as it has not been cold enough for them to freeze over well enough to support snow machines. They also indicated that riding at night should only be done if you know your area and the terrain.

To snowmobile in Ontario you must have:

  •  valid driver’s license
  • proof of snowmobile ownership
  • registration complete with current validation tag
  • insurance
  • helmets

An Ontario Trail Permit is required to travel on Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) Prescribed Trails. Many of the same rules of the road that apply to motor vehicle drivers are also the rules of the trails for snowmobile operators. Failure to comply with these rules carries similar penalties, including possible fines, loss of drivers license, criminal charges and/or imprisonment.

To ride recreationally on Prescribed Trails operated by the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs, the law requires that a valid Snowmobile Trail Permit be affixed to your windshield. The fine for failing to have a valid permit is $205.00, to a maximum of $1,000.00.

To buy a permit, go to http://www.ofsc.on.ca/

Please select Paudash Trail Blazers as your club to ensure your dollars go towards our club.  We rely on this to pay for all the costs maintaining and grooming our trails.

The Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) offers driver training and is a good resource for safety and trail information as well.

When riding you should:

  • Wear a helmet, facemask and eye protection
  • Dress appropriately in layers and avoid cotton
  • Wear a snowmobile suit
  • If you ride over open water or rivers make sure you have ice picks on the outside of your suit
  • Carry a cell phone, sat phone, or SPOT device when riding
  • Carry a map

In an emergency on the trail:

  • Ensure you have emergency supplies (food, water, warming materials, fire starting materials, dry spare clothes)
  • Carry a SPOT device, sat phone or cell phone, know how and when to use them to call for help
  • Don’t wait to call if you need help
  • If you are stranded or someone becomes injured you should seek shelter from the elements immediately.
  • Determine the distance to help and then determine how many people should go for help. This will depend on distance, experience, and weather.
  • You should only start walking for help if you absolutely certain of your location, current snow conditions, daylight and weather. Otherwise seek shelter near your machine and wait for help.
  • Stay warm. Build a fire, build a shelter. If someone is wet they must get dry as soon as possible. Handwarmers are good short-term heat sources.
  • Don’t drink alcohol to get warm.
  • In an accident remain calm. Assess the situation. Call for help. Apply first aid. Watch for bleeding or shock. Keep victims warm and dry. Don’t’ move an unconscious victim unless there is no alternative.
  • Watch for frostbite and hypothermia

Here is the legislation governing riding in Ontario:

Drivers 16 and Over:

  • Residents of Ontario: Drivers 16 and over may operate a snowmobile on trails and highways where legally permitted. They must hold a valid Ontario driver’s licence, including a G1, G2, M1,or M2 , or a Snow Vehicle Operator’s Licence. Any one who has lost their Ontario Driver’s licence for whatever reason cannot operate a snowmobile on trails or on highways where legally permitted.
  • Non-Residents of Ontario: To drive a snowmobile in Ontario, the residents of another province, state or country must have in their possession a valid driver’s license, issued by the particular jurisdiction, which allows them to operate a MSV.

Drivers Under 16:

  • If you are between the age of 12 and 15 and hold a Snow Vehicle Operator’s Licence, you may operate a snowmobile on OFSC prescribed trails.
  • It is illegal for a person under 16 to drive on or drive across any road.

 

 

Posted under ATV Accidents, Automobile Accident Benefits, Snow Mobiles

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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 www.deutschmannlaw.com or call us toll-free at 1-866-414-4878.

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