Ontario police, snowmobilers advocating for sled safety after fatal incident

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Police and Snowmobilers advocating for sled safety after fatal incident
WATCH: Following a fatal incident on the weekend, Ontario Provincial Police and seasoned snowmobilers are warning people to be safe out on the trails – Feb 7, 2023

Snowmobiling: it’s as Canadian as maple syrup, curling and beavers.

Every year, thousands of Ontarians take to the trails for this unique experience.

While it can be a fun way to get outdoors in the winter months, snowmobiling can also be extremely dangerous.

“Speed plays a very, very big factor,” said OPP Const. Art Witkowski.

Read more: 22-year-old dies in South Frontenac snowmobile crash

On Sunday, provincial police were called to a fatal snowmobiling incident in Beckwith Township in which two drivers were thrown from their snowmobiles, one of whom died as a result.

At the Lennox and Addington Ridge Runners Snowmobile Club in Yarker, safety always comes before fun, and for Ed Amell, that starts with the interactive trail guide.

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“That’s the guide that tells you the availability of the trails, green being open, yellow being limited and red being closed,” he said.

Amell said that before they hit the trails for a day in the snow, they ensure that they’ve got all their ducks in a row when it comes to keeping themselves safe.

“You have to have an approved helmet, it has to be buckled up, good clothing that will protect you from the harsh environments that we ride in,” Amell explained.

Witkowski said that just like with cars on the road, alcohol and drug impairment are a serious hazard while riding a snowmobile.

Read more: South Frontenac OPP looking for snowmobiler involved in hit and run

“Alcohol and drugs. You’ve got to stay away from alcohol and drugs on any kind of motorized vehicle,”

While it can be dangerous, Amell says that as long as you follow the rules and keep aware, snowmobiling is a great experience.

“You’re out in the outdoors, you’re seeing things that most people don’t get to see during the winter time,” he added.

Amell said that people are always encouraged to give it a try, but to do so safely.


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