Snowmobile Operators Encouraged to Review Laws

Now that there's snow on the ground, the OPP are reminding snowmobile enthusiasts to take another look at the laws before heading out.

Snowmobile enthusiasts are being asked to refresh their memories of the snowmobile laws before heading out.

OPP Constable Kees Wijnands says now that there's snow on the ground snowmobile operators need to be aware of the rules they must abide by. "One of the big don'ts of course is alcohol. The Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs and the OPP – we really stress the fact to avoid alcohol until you're completely finished your riding because they don't mix and the same laws apply on the trails as they do on the roads. So we are out there and we are looking for you."

Wijnands also says the posted speed limits need to be adhered to. "Whenever you're operating a snow mobile and a snow machine on a 50km/h trail -which is the limit there – you have to abide by the speed limit. Now you often see these machines and they're doing way in excess of that and you will be charged with operating in excess of that speed limit."

If you are taking the snowmobile out you also need to make sure you have all the necessary documentation including license and registration, but Wijnands also encourages taking a few extras too just in case. "Definitely carrying emergency survival kits with you – have a cell phone. Those are a couple of the things that have helped people that I've seen. In the last number of years we've seen a number of stranded snow machine operators and a cell phone has helped them out and gotten help to their location."

A full list of tips is provided below:

  • Snowmobile drivers must carry their driver’s licence or snowmobile operator’s card when they ride. If your licence is under suspension, you can't drive a snowmobile either. 
  • Licence, proof of registration and proof of insurance must be produced to a police officer on demand, when operating a snowmobile. 
  • A snowmobile driver must stop for police when signalled. 
  • Speed limits must be obeyed. A snowmobile driver can be charged for speeding. 
  • A snowmobile must not be driven along the serviced portion of the roadway, except to cross at a right angle. This includes the shoulder of the road. 
  • Impaired driving laws apply to snowmobiles anywhere in Canada whether on private property or not. Don't mix alcohol and snowmobiling. The OFSC has  zero tolerance for impaired operation. 
  • Snowmobiles must not be driven on private property without the owner’s permission; violators may be subject to a charge of Trespassing. 
  • A proper muffler and an approved, properly fit helmet are required by law. 
  • Drivers of a snowmobile directly or indirectly involved in a reportable collision are required to call police as soon as possible. 
  • A trail permit is required to use approved snowmobile trails, when they are declared open for use. 
  • Dress appropriately and let someone know where you plan to ride and for how long. 
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