ONTARIO – Two fatal snowmobile incidents over the weekend have the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) warning snowmobilers to stay off frozen waterways, while the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) urges them to stay off closed OFSC trails.

With Snowmobile Safety Week (Jan. 16-24) now underway, the OPP is reporting six people have lost their lives in snowmobile incidents so far this season. On Sunday, Jan. 17, three people died in two separate incidents after their snowmobiles broke through the ice on Georgian Bay.

“These latest incidents are a tragic reminder of the serious risks associated with snowmobiling on frozen waterways,” Provincial Commander, Highway Safety Division Chief superintendent Rohan Thompson said. “Approximately 40 per cent of OPP-investigated fatal snowmobile incidents in the last 10 years have occurred on lakes and rivers. Excessive speed, driving too fast for the conditions and alcohol/drugs are other top contributing factors in snowmobile deaths. Our data speaks loud and clear about the behaviours and unsafe riding conditions snowmobilers need to avoid to make it through the season safely.”

“Our mild winter makes it particularly important for snowmobilers to regularly check the OFSC Interactive Trail Guide to get information about trail openings and closures,” OFSC Marketing and Communications director Lisa Stackhouse said. “Snowmobilers are reminded that it is unlawful and unsafe to ride on closed OFSC trails and are encouraged to visit the OFSC website for other important information about what they need to do to enjoy a safe riding season.”

During the campaign and throughout the snowmobile season, OPP officers will be visible conducting enforcement throughout the province, focusing their attention on safety violations and impaired driving investigations. Snowmobilers are reminded that Mandatory Alcohol Screening authorizes officers to demand a breath test from snowmobile operators without requiring suspicion that they have consumed alcohol. Snowmobile Safety Week supports the OPP’s commitment to saving lives on Ontario highways, waterways and trails.

For more information, visit the following links:

Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs

OFSC Trails – What you need to know