January, 2009 – Provincial Snowmobile Safety Week (http://www.ofsc.on.ca/home.asp) – January 11 to 17 – is a great opportunity for Ontarians to check their riding skills and brush up on safe sledding know-how.
Every winter about 30 people are killed and another 350 are injured while snowmobiling in Ontario. According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information (http://secure.cihi.ca/cihiweb/splash.html), snowmobiling is the number one cause of winter sports and recreation-related severe injuries.
These important tips will help make your ride safe:
- Do not drink and ride: alcohol affects judgment and increases your risk of fatigue and hypothermia
- Check local ice conditions before heading out – they can change rapidly
- Avoid travelling on unmarked frozen lakes and rivers – and always wear a buoyant snowmobile suit and carry ice picks to improve your chances of survival if you break through the ice
- Respect the speed limits posted on trails and roadways – the speed limit on trails is generally 50 kilometres per hour unless otherwise indicated
- Never ride alone – tell someone when and where you are going and what route you will take.
For more safe riding tips and information, visit Ontario’s Safe Snowmobiling (http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/safety/topics/snowmobile.shtml) web page.
“Most snowmobile-related deaths occur at night, off the trail system. Alcohol, high speed and thin ice are often factors, so please ride responsibly. It could save your life,” said Transportation Minister Jim Bradley (http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/about/minister.shtml).
“Snowmobiling is one of the many activities which allow us to enjoy the outdoors during the colder months,” said Minister of Health Promotion Margarett Best (http://www.mhp.gov.on.ca/english/about/minister.asp). “I urge all Ontarians snowmobiling this winter to keep safe while enjoying the benefits of being active in Ontario’s great outdoors.”
- Ontario’s snowmobile trail system is the largest in the world with more than 43,000 kilometres of trails.
- The province and the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (http://www.ofsc.on.ca/) work together to encourage snowmobilers to ride with a Snowmobile Trail Permit on OFSC-prescribed trails (http://www.gorideontario.com/snow/snow_trailinfo.html), which are maintained and marked for improved safety.