'Know your limits': RCMP issue safety reminder after spate of snowmobile deaths
Published Wednesday, March 14, 2018 6:17PM CST
Last Updated Wednesday, March 14, 2018 6:33PM CST
Manitoba RCMP is issuing a safety reminder for snowmobile riders, after six fatal crashes in the province in seven weeks.
Officials with the RCMP told CTV News there were six fatalities last season.
This season, Mounties have seen six fatal crashes since Jan. 20, 2018.
Two of those fatal crashes happened last weekend alone, leaving a 29-year-old man and 33-year-old man dead.
Sgt. Paul Manaigre with Manitoba RCMP said many of the tragedies may have been preventable.
“Every officer has to be tasked to go notify a family member that someone’s not coming home. And we don’t want to do that if we don’t have to,” said Manaigre, who writes police statements on the incidents.
“What I’m seeing when I’m writing these is two trends: one speed, and two not knowing the area you’re riding.”
Manaigre said with warmer temperatures, Mounties expected more Manitobans to be getting out for those last rides of the season.
In hopes of prompting snowmobilers to think of safety, the RCMP issued a number of tips:
- Know your abilities and ride within your limits. This will allow you to always be in control of your snowmobile.
- Use caution, be alert and slow down when operating on unfamiliar terrain. Always look ahead and be ready for hidden or unforeseen obstacles.
- Always ride in groups and let people know where you’re going, the route you will be taking, and when you expect to return.
- Wear the proper protective clothing, including a helmet, to keep you warm and to keep you safe.
- Be cautious of ice thickness when crossing frozen bodies of water. If you are crossing a body of water, please wear a floatation device over your outer clothing.
- RIDE SOBER. Drinking and operating a snowmobile don’t mix.
Snowmobilers of Manitoba or Snowman Inc. also addressed the recent collisions, telling CTV News speed was a likely factor in a number of the crashes.
Snoman executive director Yvonne Rideout said recent temperatures could have also played a role in contributing to a higher volume of snowmobilers.
“I think one thing that happened is the weather warmed up, and more people got out on the trails.”
Snoman advises riders to go 60km/hin normal conditions, or 30 km/h on corners, curves, when there’s reduced visibility, or in other areas that required extra caution.
Brenda Gibson and her husband Erwin Gibson were riding in the Bird’s Hill Park area on Wednesday.
Avid snowmobilers, the Gibsons have been riding for 30 years, and said they enjoyed the time outside, but always made sure to ride together and to know the area they were riding in.
“There’s lots of sharp curves out there. Go by the signs: signs are out there for a reason,” said Erwin Gibson.
Both Gibsons said they hoped to enjoy a few more rides before the end of the seaon, but they planned to do so safely.
“Just be careful, drive the speed limit, and that’s about it,”said Erwin.