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Sledding enforcement aims to stop speeders

The Ontario Provincial Police are planning to log many kilometres of snowmobile routes.
The Ontario Provincial Police are planning to log many kilometres of snowmobile routes.

Details are included in the following news release issued by the OPP this morning:

OPP Slow Sledders Down With
Enforcement Action On Local Lakes and Trails

(North Bay, ON) With more and more people taking to the trails each winter, there is a greater need for enforcement action to address the safety challenge of excessive speed. During the 2004 snowmobiling season, the North East Region Ontario Provincial Police are set to log 100,000 kilometres of trail patrol.

The SAVE team – a six person unit dedicated to recreational vehicle patrol – travels the region to augment regular detachment patrols – a fleet of 56 machines in all. OPP officers carry the ‘responsible snowmobiling’ message directly to snowmobilers on the trails – day and night. Charges will be laid when necessary to drive that message home.

In January, the SAVE Team logged 4,379 kilometers on the trails and lakes within the North East Region. Officers checked 884 sleds and laid a total of 83 charges. Fifty-one (51) of those were MSVA charges with speeding topping the list of offences. Snowmobilers were also charged with 15 LLA infractions and 5 HTA offences.

“Sled safety is in the hands of the operator,” explains Sgt. Sydock. “The sudden impact of a high-speed collision or an open water incident leaves riders little in the way of a second chance.”

Slow down and see obstacles hidden by the snow - trees and branches on the trail - slow grooming equipment - oncoming sleds - other trail users - wildlife. Reduce speed and watch for trail wash outs and flooding - snow banks and moguls - road and railway crossings - unexpected corners - intersections and stops – bridges - open water and unsafe ice.

Night riding increases an operators risk, most fatalities, happen after dark. Night riding often involves alcohol consumption and excessive speed. Visibility is reduced and it is much more difficult to spot and identify potential hazards in time to avoid a crash