Snowmobiles are Fun But Dangerous

January 25, 2018, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

There has been a recent spate of snowmobile fatalities in Southern Ontario. Three deaths in a four day timespan has raised alarm bells again with the OPP. After a record breaking 2017 for snowmobile deaths, the OPP are hoping to prevent the trend from continuing. This season the OPP have seen 7 fatalities with many of the riders breaking basic safety rules.

The three deaths of a 16-year-old boy in Elmvale, a 51-year-old man in Otterville and another man Wallaceburg occurred over the New Year week. Another 27-year-old woman was airlifted to Hamilton in Critical conditions after crashing into a tree in New Hamburg.

There are many reasons for the crashes. The snowmobiles that many of us grew up using were ‘primitive’ machines with top speeds of 50 or 60 km/hr. Today’s machines can travel will over 100 km/hr. They are powerful, but many people forget that. Accidents happen quickly, and the margins for error are greatly reduced when people are driving excessively fast on the trails.

Another major source of accidents is people riding off groomed trails, particularly on private property and in roadside ditches. Sadly, there are people who trespass onto farm fields to ride their snow machines but aren’t familiar with the dangers of the particular properties. These can be anything from low walls on fields, boulders, shallow irrigation ponds, fencing and livestock wire fencing. At speed all of these hazards can be lethal.

OPP warn that the marked trails are marked for a reason. They are safe. They note that basic safety rules are being ignored by riders. Too many people are on unsafe ice again this year. Riders are also trying to use OFSC (Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs)   trails that are closed. They aren’t safe or reliable if they aren’t open not the OPP.

The OFSC recommends that for safety you should:

  • Only ride in times of good visibility
  • Spread out and keep a safe distance from other riders
  • Stay on the right side of the trails when riding and use hand signals to indicate your turns
  • BE AWARE on ice. Follow a previous trail or stake line. DO NOT cross alone. Keep an eye out for ice roads and ice heaves. Have your safety ice picks at hand.
  • Tell people what your ride plan is before you leave home
  • Cary a reliable communication device and personal tracking unit
  • Always ride with a survival kit/emergency kit.
  • DON’T drink and ride
  • Carry a whistle
  • Check your lights and gear before hitting the trail
  • Wear a helmet
  • Look out for cars when crossing roads and driveways

Check out their page for more safety tips.


Posted under Accident Benefit News, Spinal Cord Injury, Snow Mobiles

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