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Snowmobile Season is Fast Approaching – Are you Ready for a Safe Season?
By: Deutschmann Personal Injury & Disability Law (Lawyers) | Published 11/28/2021
Snowmobiling is a popular recreational and sporting activity in Ontario. It can be a fun and safe way to enjoy the winter months. It is not without risks though and understanding the risks will keep you safer.
The Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) is the body that helps keep Ontario’s 30,000 km of snowmobile trails open and safe. There are 16 riding districts and 183 clubs in the province which work locally with riders and landowners to open and maintain the trails. To ride on public trails you’ll need a permit from the OFSC and insurance and a licence.
You can purchase trail permits from the OFSC on an annual or daily basis. You can also use their portal to book your Motorized Snow Vehicle Operator’s Course which is required if you do not have a driver's licence. You must be at least 12 years old to take the course, and you must have this certificate or a valid driver's licence if you are riding on public lands or trails in the province.
Rules of the Roadways for Snowmobiles
If you only ride on private property, then you do not require a licence or insurance for your sled. You should be aware of safe operating rules regardless of where you ride.
To operate your snowmobile in Ontario, you must:
- Carry a valid driver’s licence or MSVOL
- Carry your ownership and proof of insurance
- Have a valid Snowmobile trail permit affixed to your sled when on trials
- Wear an approved snowmobile helmet for the driver and each passenger
In Ontario, you may ride alongside public roads between the shoulder and fence line (unless the municipality prohibits it). You cannot ride on:
- The 400 series of highways and other restricted access high-speed roads
- On the plowed shoulder or roads and highways that vehicles ride on
- Snowmobiles also have speed limits. When you are riding on roadways the limits are lower than for cars.
- Where the posted speed limit is 50 km/h the speed for sleds is 20km/h
- On roads where the limit is higher than 50 km/h sleds may travel at 50 km/h
- Trails have posted speed limits as well
Impaired driving of snowmobiles is illegal. Just like when you are driving it is dangerous to drive when impaired by drugs, medication, or alcohol. The penalties for sledding impaired are the same as driving impaired.
The top three causes of fatal snowmobile accidents and collisions are speeding, impaired driving, and carelessness. When you ride please do it sober. Other dangers include:
- Lakes and rivers require heightened vigilance. Many people die every year in Canada trying to cross unsafe ice. You should avoid travelling on ice if possible. If you are travelling on ice then check with the local club for conditions, wear a PFD or floater suit and carry ice picks on your chest or another easily accessible location.
- Get proper training – take the safety course
- Always let someone know where you are going and when you will be back
- Keep your tank filled
- Check weather, trail and ice conditions before you leave
- Wear appropriate clothes
- Maintain and inspect your snowmobile
- Carry a survival kit and first aid kit
- Stay on trails
- Drive with care and control
- NEVER ride on railway tracks
- Avoid riding alone
- NEVER allow your children to ride unsupervised
If you or a loved one have been injured seriously in a snowmobile accident, please contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Deutschmann Law today for your free initial consultation. You may be entitled to accident benefits and other benefits. We are here to secure your future. Call 1.866.414.4878 for your free initial consultation.