By Chad Ingram
The OPP and the Ontario Federation ofSnowmobile Clubs (OFSC) are launching what they're calling ProvincialSnowmobile Safety Week from Jan. 16 to 24.
The idea is to remind snowmobilers to focuson their own safety as well as the safety as others.
“With the campaign getting underway thisweekend the OPP and OFSC are reminding snowmobile enthusiasts to stay off thelakes and waterways for the time being as conditions are generally poor in manyparts of the province” a release reads.
Riders are encouraged to stay on trailsprescribed by the OFSC and to refrain from speeding riding after dark and ofcourse riding while impaired.
The OPP investigated 15 snowmobile-relateddeaths last winter a decrease from the two preceding seasons.
During the winter of 2013-2014 there were21 snowmobile-related deaths in Ontario 18 during the 2012-2013 season.
According to police 58 per cent ofsnowmobile-related fatalities involve alcohol or drugs; 57 per cent involvespeeding or driving too fast for conditions; and 58 per cent take place at duskor after dark.
“In particular the OPP and OFSC arelooking to middle-aged males to ride with extra care and control this winter as87 per cent of last season’s snowmobile-related fatalities involved male ridersand 58 per cent were riders or passengers between the ages of 35 and 54” therelease reads.
Snowmobilers are advised to avoidroad-running wherever possible.
Where it is necessary to ride alongthe side of a public road (this is legal in most areas in the province) ridersare reminded to watch out for parked vehicles and vehicles emerging fromdriveways give cars the right of way be particularly cautious whenapproaching intersections obey all traffic signs and slow down if their viewis obstructed by snow banks.
Motorists are reminded to be vigilant ofsnowmobilers this time of year.
Tips on safe snowmobiling from the provincecan be found at http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/driver/handbook/section220.127.116.11.shtml
To find out which trails are open inHaliburton County visit the Haliburton County Snowmobile Association's websiteat www.hcsa.ca .
There have been two serious snowmobilecrashes in the county in recent days.
On Jan. 17 1 41-year-old local man wasairlifted to hospital in Toronto after an accident and on Jan. 18 a51-year-old Tillsonburg man was killed when his sled crossed into theintersection of Francis Road along the Rail Trail in Gelert striking a pickuptruck.