Snowmobile Season is Here - Ride Safe and Legal

January 03, 2017, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

For many winter enthusiasts, their favourite time of the year is here. It's snowmobile season and many trails throughout the province are open. Snowmobiling is a popular winter pastime, but comes with legal requirements and does have a good deal of risk associated with it.

The Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs turns 50 this year, and they do fantastic work promoting safe sledding in the province. They have a great website full of information on trails and safety tips. It's definately worth a look for anyone heading out of their home club area.

There are legal requirements for anyone operating a snowmobile on public land and trails in the province.

  • You must have a Snowmobile Trail Permit on your sled
  • You must posses a valid driver’s licence, or if you are between 12-16 years old you must have a Snow Vehicle Operator’s Licence to drive on OFSC Prescribed trails.
  • You must carry proof of insurance, ownership, and registration for the sled
  • Every rider must wear an approved snowmobile helmet
  • Impaired driving laws apply to snowmobile operation

When trailering to your destination the OPP ask that all drivers:

  • Ensure their trail wheels, bearings and tires are in good shape.
  • Do a full circle check including trailer lights every day.
  • Your trailer must be registered and have its own licence plates
  • Make sure that you don’t exceed your trailer’s weight limit, or your tire’s speed ratings. Remember that your vehicle will handle differently with a trailer attached, and that stopping distances will increase. Avoid sudden maneuvers and stops.
  • Make sure your sleds are secured safely and clear off any debris from the sled and trailer.
  • Tow mirrors are crucial.
  • Check your load regularly especially on long trips.
  • Use winter tires,

When you get where you are going ride safely:

  • Carry a phone or sat phone or SPOT as required.
  • Leave a travel plan with someone.
  • Avoid riding alone.
  • Pack and emergency repair kit, and a survival kit.
  • Inspect your gear regularly.
  • Don’t speed

Riding on trails is a safe way to go for most people. If you ride off trails, in farm fields, on the shoulder of the road, or in other places, always beware of fences and gates. Always ride in control and watch for cars and other riders. If you are riding on rivers and lakes always carry a self rescue kit and travel cautiously. Sleds and riders are lost every year.

Most importantly, have fun.



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