From the OPP
With Snowmobile Safety Week underway this week (Jan. 19-27), the OPP is dismayed by the recurring causal factors in snowmobiler deaths, most notably those that stem from snowmobilers travelling on unsafe ice again this season.
Three of this season’s six snowmobilers who died were travelling on unsafe ice.
Two of the snowmobilers went through the ice. In the third ice-related incident, the snowmobiler drove into open water.
Speed, driving too fast for the conditions, and alcohol/drugs were factors in the other three fatal incidents.
During the 2017-18 season, three of the 14 snowmobilers who died also were travelling on unsafe ice when they drove into open water.
Alcohol/drugs were linked to six of last season’s fatalities while speed played a role in five of the deaths.
In an effort to enhance snowmobile safety, the OPP now is engaging its aviation and unmanned aerial systems (UAS).
Aviation support is an effective tool in a number of situations, such as speed enforcement, search-and-rescue, and detecting dangerous snowmobile operation.
UAS support is a valuable resource at snowmobile collision scenes and for accessing locations that are inaccessible by other means.
“The use of OPP aviation and UAS support demonstrates our latest efforts to keep snowmobile communities safe,” said OPP Deputy Commissioner Brad Blair, Provincial Commander, Traffic Safety and Operational Support.
“Despite our commitment to saving lives, our use of innovative technology, and our valued partnership with the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs, it is not enough,” he added.
“We need all snowmobilers to understand that regardless of where they are riding, the only safe ride is a risk-free ride.”
“Snowmobiling is a great way to explore the province in the winter but we need everyone to be safe and obey the law,” echoed Kinga Surma, parliamentary assistant to the minister of transportation.
“It doesn’t matter whether you’re driving a snowmobile, a car, or any other type of vehicle–there’s no place for impaired or unsafe drivers in Ontario,” she stressed.
“Safety is a shared responsibility for every snowmobiler on OFSC Prescribed Snowmobile Trails,” noted OFSC executive director Ryan Eickmeier.
“Riders should remember that no ice is safe ice,” he warned.
“Travel on staked trails and check the Interactive Trail Guide before you go,” Eickmeier added.
“The OFSC commends the OPP for their continued dedication to ensuring our trails remain safe for riders of all experience levels,” he remarked.