This winter, as temperatures and snow begin to fall, snowmobiles will start gracing the snow-dappled scenery of Ontario. Whether riding on the road or on one of the province’s many designated snowmobile trails, snowmobiling offers the opportunity to travel fast in heavy snowfall, or explore the winter wonderland of Ontario’s parks and forests.
However, while snowmobiles offer the prospect of enjoyment, riding one does come with a set of risks. Operating a snowmobile or other motorized snow vehicles in an unsafe manner can lead to serious injury, or even death. From 2013 to 2019 there was an average of 73 snowmobile deaths occurring every year in Canada. Last winter, there were at least 10 snowmobiling fatalities in Ontario alone. Before that, there were 14 fatalities in the winter of 2021-2022.
Even one fatality is one too many.
This winter, before taking your snowmobile out for a ride, ask yourself:
Am I Eligible to Ride a Motorized Snow Vehicle?
To operate a snowmobile or motorized snow vehicle in Ontario, you require a permit, unless you are operating the vehicle on your own land.
There are different restrictions on where you can operate a snowmobile depending on your age and whether you have a licence.
- If you are under the age of twelve AND have no licence you can only operate a snowmobile on private property.
- If you are between the ages of twelve and fifteen AND have a valid Motorized Snow Vehicle Operator’s Licence (MSVOL) (or a licence from another jurisdiction) you can operate a snowmobile on snowmobile trails and on private property
- If you are at the age of sixteen or over AND have a Valid Ontario Driver’s licence, OR have a valid MSVOL OR have a snowmobile licence from another jurisdiction, you can operate a snowmobile on snowmobile trails, across permitted roads, across permitted roadways and on private property.
Below are eight snowmobile safety tips to consider before riding:
- Receive proper training on how to drive a snowmobile
- Obey signs and signals
- Exercise increased caution when crossing roads and railway tracks
- Do not leave children unsupervised or unattended with snowmobiles
- Always wear a helmet and ensure that your helmet meets Ontario’s standards
- Always follow the speed limit and adjust to the weather for slower speeds
- Never operate a snowmobile when you are impaired from alcohol, drugs, or medication
- Use proper lights on the vehicle and avoid riding when there is reduced visibility
Remember, the best trips are those when we arrive safely to our destinations. Stay safe this winter! You can read more about no fault benefits for a snowmobile accidents here.
If you, or someone you love, has been seriously injured in a snowmobile accident, Campisi personal injury lawyers can help. Call us toll free at 855-351-1115.
For more information on your responsibilities when operating a Motorized Snow Vehicle, consult the Motorized Snow Vehicles Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. M.44.
For Snowmobile Safety Courses, visit:
For more information on snowmobile safety, visit the following websites:
Disclaimer: the content in this article is not meant to be a comprehensive list of safety tips to use or operate a motorized snow vehicle. Please consult the relevant resources before operating a motorized snow vehicle.
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