Ahead of the start of International Snowmobile Safety Week, the provincial police and Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) say sledders can be their “own worst enemy when tragedy strikes.”
In a joint statement, the OPP and OFSC say a “common sense approach” is needed to avoid tragic outcomes this riding season.
“With speeding, driving too fast for the conditions and alcohol/drug impairment the leading causes in snowmobile fatalities, snowmobilers are reminded that the conscious choice to include these (and other) risks in their ride – more so than the risks themselves – make snowmobilers their own worst enemy when tragedy strikes,” the joint statement says.
The vast majority of trails in Ontario, including all of the ones in Muskoka, are closed as of Jan. 13. Police and OFSC officials say the late onset of cold temperatures and lack of snow in parts of the province have made trail conditions dangerous.
Over the past decade, they say that close to 40 percent of OPP-investigated snowmobile fatalities have happened on frozen lakes. No matter the time of the winter season, officials with both groups urge sledders to avoid frozen waterways.
Snowmobile Safety Week runs from Jan. 14 to 23.