Thirty-three-year-old Scott McPherson may have been the first snowmobiler to lose his life in Ontario this winter, but he is unlikely to be the last. The man’s body was recovered from an Eastern Ontario lake in late November, prompting the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) to release a public warning, the contents of which every Ontario snowmobile accident lawyer will find painfully familiar.
“No ice is ‘safe ice,’” the statement reads. “Underlying water currents or air pockets can create thin ice, even in the coldest temperatures. Snowmobilers can’t see this until it’s too late.”
The police service is hoping to avoid a repeat of the 2016-17 winter season, during which snowmobile-related deaths reached a ten-year high. Approximately a third of the fatalities involved breaking through shallow ice and many were linked to speeding, impairment, and other risky, avoidable behaviours.
Like every Ontario snowmobile accident lawyer, the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) understands that some of its members take unnecessary risks on the trails. Together with the OPP, the province’s primary organizing body for snowmobilers is aiming to effect change.
“Working in partnership with the OPP on snowmobile safety these past several years continues to be an effective way to promote safe snowmobiling, with the aim of reducing the number of snowmobile fatalities,” OFSC Manager of Participation and Partnership Develop said last year in a release. “While we are pleased to see many snowmobilers using OFSC trails safety and responsibly, there are still a number of them taking unnecessary chances and making bad riding choices.”
During Ontario Snowmobile Safety Week 2017, the organization published a comprehensive list of safety tips ‘for arriving home safely after each ride.’ The list advises riders to stay on open OFSC trails; only ride in good visibility conditions; maintain space between riders; use hand signals; remain on the right-hand side of the trail; never cross ice alone; and always be vigilant and prepared for accidents by carrying a survival kit and reliable communications device.
Snowmobiling is an intimate, engrossing way to experience Ontario’s unique winter landscape; by adhering to common sense safety protocols, it can also be a safe one.
If you or a member of your family has suffered a serious injury in a snowmobiling accident, contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers today to speak with an experienced Ontario snowmobile accident lawyer. For more than 40 years, our team of knowledgeable and understanding representatives has fought for the rights of some of the province’s most seriously injured accident victims. Call today to learn how we can help.
Image credit: Yellowstone National Park/Flickr
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