As winter winds down a reminder on snowmobiling rules of the road

As winter winds down a reminder on snowmobiling rules of the road

In the winter of 2020-2021 the Town of Fort Frances passed a bylaw that allowed snowmobiling on roads throughout most of town. Bylaw Enforcement Officer Patrick Briere says there are a few things to keep in mind.

“In the winter of 2020-2021 we worked with the snowmobile club and the business owners in the west end about reviewing the bylaw and permitting snowmobiles in town,” Briere said. “The only restrictions we put in were that they can’t operate in school zones Monday to Friday from 8-9 a.m. and 3-4 p.m. and they can’t drive on sidewalks or pathways and we set a speed limit of 20 Km/H.”

Snowmobiles are becoming a more common method of getting around town. But there are rules and limitations that drivers should be aware of. – Allan Bradbury photo

There are some other geographic restrictions on the movement of snowmobiles. Prohibited roads include King’s Highway, Second St. East, Scott St., Front St. from Agamiing Dr. to Mill Rd. As well as the area around La Verandrye Hospital is also off limits save for crossing those roads.

“The main reason we did the bylaw was to allow snowmobilers to access businesses in town, restaurants, gas, all that stuff,” Briere said.

Briere, who lives in the west end of Fort Frances says throughout the winter he has heard lots of traffic through his area.

“Snowmobiles accessing Husky for gas and the trails off McIrvine Rd. and there’s been an increase of students driving from the country to school especially during exam week,” Briere said. “If they wanted to sleep in a bit they didn’t have to come in right away they could ride their sled in.”

By and large, Briere says there have been relatively few complaints and they’ve been around people on sidewalks. The town works with the OPP to educate riders around the rules of the road for snowmobiles.

Residents are probably more likely to see snowmobiles in laneways rather than on main roads mostly because the laneways have more snow cover on them than the roads do.

Overall Briere says he feels like the change has been positive.

“I can see sleds up and down Keating Ave. crossing King’s Highway to access homes in the south end,” Briere said. “They just follow the rules of the road, the traffic lights there and cross safely and everything’s kosher. It’s been pretty good since the bylaw’s inception it’s been a good change for the community.