Ontario Government Reminds Snowmobilers To Ride Safely



    Snowmobiling Is Top Cause Of Winter Sports And Recreation-Related Severe
    Injury

    QUEEN'S PARK, Jan. 16 /CNW/ - Every winter, about 30 to 40 people are
killed and more than 300 are injured while snowmobiling in Ontario. Snowmobile
Safety Week - January 13 to 19 - is the perfect reminder to check ice
conditions and follow basic safety rules every time you hit the trails.
    "Most snowmobile-related deaths occur at night off the trail system.
Alcohol, high speed and thin ice are often factors. All drivers and passengers
should take the necessary steps to avoid tragedy," said Transportation
Minister Jim Bradley.
    According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, snowmobiling
is the number one cause of winter sports and recreation-related severe
injuries. Young people are most at risk.
    "Snowmobiling is a great way to get outdoors and enjoy Ontario's winter
season," said Minister of Health Promotion Margarett Best. "I urge all
snowmobile riders to be responsible and stay safe while having fun on the
trails."

    
    Basic Safety Tips To Help Snowmobilers Stay Safe

    Ice and snowmobiling

    -   Ice conditions are unpredictable and can change quickly, so avoid
        traveling on unmarked frozen lakes and rivers.
    -   If you must ride on ice, always check ice conditions before going out
        and stay on trails that have been marked by your local snowmobile
        club.
    -   Wear a buoyant snowmobile suit and carry ice picks to improve your
        chances of survival if you break through ice or drive into open
        water.

    Don't drink and ride

    -   Alcohol affects judgment and response times, increases fatigue and
        the risk of hypothermia.
    -   Riding while impaired is a criminal offence that can affect your
        driving record and insurance rates.

    Speeding

    -   Always respect the speed limits posted on trails and roadways. The
        speed limit on a trail is generally 50 km/h unless otherwise
        indicated.

    Night riding

    -   Lower your speed. Reduced nighttime visibility makes hazards such as
        rocks, trees, fences and gates more difficult to spot.
    -   Every snowmobile must have working head and taillights.
    -   Wear reflective clothing.
    -   Avoid riding alone.
    -   If you must stop on a road or trail, pull off to the side and keep
        your snowmobile running so your lights will be visible to oncoming
        traffic.

    Protect yourself from the elements

    -   Always wear an approved helmet.
    -   Wear layers of warm, waterproof and windproof clothing.
    -   Install a visor on your helmet, wear UV protected sunglasses, or
        goggles to reduce glare and guard against snow blindness.
    

    For more safe riding tips and information, please visit the Ministry of
Transportation's Safe Snowmobiling webpage at
http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/safety/topics/snowmobile.htm.
    The province and the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) work
together to encourage snowmobilers to ride with a Snowmobile Trail Permit on
OFSC-prescribed trails, which are maintained and marked for improved safety.
    Ontario has the largest snowmobile trail system in the world with more
than 41,000 kilometers of trails.
    "As off-road experience, snowmobiling takes place in an unpredictable
natural setting," said OFSC president Bruce Robinson. "Snowmobilers should
always ride with care and control and stay on the trail."

    
    Disponible en français

                              www.mto.gov.on.ca
    




For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts: David Oved, Minister's Office,
(416) 327-2885; Bob Nichols, Communications Branch, (416) 327-1158; Public
Inquiries: (416) 235-4686 (GTA), 1-800-268-4686 toll free, 1-866-471-8929 TTY

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