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Youths nabbed riding old snowmobile with flashlight taped to hood

OPP snowmobile patrol out on area trails
duct tape stock

BRACEBRIDGE - Members of the Ontario Provincial Police Bracebridge Detachment Motorized Snow Vehicle patrol have been actively patrolling the trails and roadways in our area.

Though most trails in our area remain closed, many enthusiasts are still enjoying what limited riding is available.

In an effort to promote a safe riding environment and maintain a strong community partnership with snowmobilers, the OPP actively patrols our trails, lakes and roadways to ensure safe, responsible operation.

Officers have been conducting random R.I.D.E. stops as well as mobile patrols throughout Muskoka.

In addition to the prevention of careless, unsafe or drug and alcohol impaired operation, officers are ensuring compliance with helmet, insurance registration and operational requirements.

On Muskoka Road 169 near Bala, police stopped a 13-year-old operator with a 14-year-old passenger operating a sled that was 20 years older than them. Granted there are a lot of well-maintained classics out there, but this particular machine had a flashlight duct taped to the hood for a headlight.

Police found numerous mechanical deficiencies with the machine in addition to the fact that the operators are too young to be riding on a roadway and the decrepit machine was not insured.

Ensuring that a machine is mechanically sound, safe and in good working order is the responsibility of the operator and everyone's safety depends on it.

If you must venture out on the ice, the OPP encourage snowmobilers to stay on marked or known trails. All riders who choose to venture out onto frozen waterways must consider every dock, boathouse or moored vessel to be unsafe and keep well away.

Riders must consider the following challenges they may face on ice surfaces;

  • Flat Light - Overcast skies and white snow can diffuse the sunlight eliminating the shadows and definition that we use to identify obstacles. Be aware that you may not clearly see the perils ahead, even in daylight.
  • Heaves and gaps - Ice surfaces are dynamic, they move and shift with wind and weather. When slabs of ice collide, heaves of broken ice are created that could pose a serious collision hazard. Conversely, when slabs of ice separate, gaps of open water can appear presenting another serious hazard for unprepared riders.
  • Cleared snow, snow banks- Ice surfaces are used by the masses for many activities, professional and recreational. Riders may come across an area of ice that has been plowed, a road or skating rink for example. These areas are often surrounded by mounds of piled snow, having been cleared from the ice. A collision with a snow bank could cause serious injury and expensive damage to a machine.
  • Man-made obstacles- Riders must always be mindful of docks, swim platforms, ice fishing huts etc. that may be frozen in the ice, masked by snow.
  • Don't over-drive your headlight- When riding in darkness or inclement weather be sure to ride a speed that will allow you time to react to any of the above challenges that could appear in your head light beam/ field of view. At 50 km/h you travel 14 metres or 46 feet every second, at 100 km/h, 28 metres or 92 feet. If your headlight projects 30 metres/100 feet in front of you, at 100 km/h, you have 1 second to see and obstacle, make a decision, react and allow the machine to respond….

Always maintain and properly wear a snowmobile helmet and please don't drink and ride.