Two fatalities on Manitoba snowmobile trails over the weekend renews call for caution

The executive director of Snoman said speed is key issue on on Manitoba trails. Talia Ricci / Global News

The Manitoba Snowmobile Association is reminding riders to slow down while out on the trails after a deadly weekend.

A 29-year-old man from Oakview, Man. died while snowmobiling north of Brandon Sunday.

Just after 5 p.m. Sunday, officers from Carberry RCMP and the Rivers Police Service responded to a report of a snowmobile collision, in the RM of Riverdale, on the Little Saskatchewan River.

The crash happened about 15 km southeast of Rivers near Provincial Road 270.

Police said the rider was travelling northbound on the trail system when he appears to have driven over the edge of a ravine bank and dropped some 20 metres, landing on the frozen river below. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

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Officials said the man had been wearing a helmet at the time of the collision. It is not known if alcohol or speed played a factor.

Another Manitoba rider died Saturday after hitting a tree. Powerview RCMP said they responded to a report of a collision on Snoman Trail #220, approximately 45 km north of Broadlands Road in the RM of Alexander.

READ MORE: Winnipeg man killed in snowmobile collision

RCMP Sgt. Paul Manaigre said Monday there have been six fatal crashes in the province since Jan. 20.

Yvonne Rideout, executive director of Snowmobilers Manitoba Inc. (Snoman) spoke with Geoff Currier on CJOB March 12.  She said, prior to the release of the Sunday crash, they were aware of three fatalities on Manitoba trails.

“The three that we have on file, including the [one on Saturday], it was people riding beyond their ability. All of them included crashes with trees, which means speed was a factor and not being able to control their snowmobile,” Rideout said.
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RELATED: Staying safe: Snowmobile organization offers tips

Speed, Rideout explained, is a growing concern for the snowmobile association.

“We will be next season, we’re just in the works right now, working on a campaign dealing with not speeding and riding to your ability. And we will be embarking on a campaign that speed does not always take you to your destination.”

“Speed is not what recreational snowmobiling is. [It’s about] being out there with your family, being safe on the trails, abiding by the rules on the trails and obeying the signage,” Rideout said.

The recommended speed on trails is 30 km/hr or slower for curves or caution areas and turns, and 60 km/hr on straight trails.

The recent snowfall has extended the snowmobile season. Rideout said the Snoman message is for riders to get out there and enjoy the trails, but watch your speed.

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