THUNDER BAY – Winter and Northern Ontario is snowmobile time for many people. Whether for enjoyment just riding the trails or for heading out ice fishing, along with all the fun of snowmobiling comes with some responsibilities too.
The recent cold weather has ice formed or forming on many area lakes and rivers. Taking extra care and checking the ice can save you and your loved ones from a lot of problems.
Safety on Snowmobiles
OPP will continue their snow vehicle patrols throughout the season and want to remind riders of these important tips that will help make your ride safe:
- Obey speed limits and road/trail signs and always drive within your ability. Reduce your speed when driving at night and watch out for fences, guide wires and other objects that are more difficult to spot at night.
- Avoid driving on frozen lakes and rivers. If it can’t be avoided, check ice conditions beforehand. Wear a buoyant snowmobile suit. Carry ice picks and make sure they are accessible.
- Tell someone of your outing; including where you are going, the route, description of your snowmobile and your expected time of return.
- Never travel alone… always with a friend. Always be prepared for the unexpected. Carry a fully charged cell phone if available.
- Never drive impaired. Alcohol, illegal drugs, even prescription and some over-the-counter drugs can slow your reaction time and affect your ability to make good decisions. If convicted of impaired driving on a snowmobile, you will lose your driving privileges for all types of vehicles, including motor vehicles, commercial vehicles, and motorcycles.
- Use appropriate hand signals when driving with others before stopping, slowing down or turning. Exercise caution on corners and hills, and always remain on the right-hand side of the trail.
- Never ride on private property without permission of the landowner.
- Snowmobile operators are obligated to carry documents with them when operating a motorized snow vehicle. A valid driver’s license or motorized snow vehicle operator’s license, evidence of the vehicle’s registration, and proof of insurance – the vehicle must be insured under a motor vehicle liability policy under the Insurance Act. If riding on a prescribed Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Club (OFSC) trail, then a valid OFSC trail permit is required to be affixed in the proper fashion to your snowmobile.
Snowmobiles and the City of Thunder Bay
The Thunder Bay Police share, “Even though recent snow and cold days lead the temptation to ride your snow machine in the City, police are reminding all residents that such activity is prohibited.
The 2001 City By-Law, establishes permitted and prohibited areas for operation of a snowmobile.The maps attached define the boundaries as established by the bylaw.
In general, the built-up area of the City east of Highway 11-17 and Hwy 61, and north of and including the Kaministiquia River is off-limits to snowmobiles. County Park, Jumbo Gardens, Tuscany and Woodcrest neighborhoods as well as the cross-country ski area in Trowbridge Falls Park, Cascade Conservation Area, all City Golf Courses and the Harbour are included in the Prohibited Areas.
The use of snowmobiles is generally permitted in all other areas of the City which are not included in the previous description, except that snowmobiles cannot be driven on the traveled portion of any serviced roadways (including the pavement and the shoulders of the road) except when crossing at right angles.
On the following highways, the use of snowmobiles is completely restricted from fence line to fence line:
Riverdale Road – from Highway 61 to the 20th Side Road.
North Riverdale Road – total length
Rosslyn Road – from Neebing Ave to the City limits (25th Side Road)
Taylor Drive – Hillcrest Estates Trailer Court
Robbie Bay – Hillcrest Estates Trailer Court
Panoma Dr – Vestivale Trailer Court
Baccus Drive – Vestivale Trailer Court
Fortuna Dr. – Vestivale Trailer Court
Damon Cres – Vestivale Trailer Court
John St Road – from Valley St to Belrose Road
Remember, if you intend to operate a snowmobile on private property, you must have permission from the property owner.
Noise Bylaws in the City of Thunder Bay prohibit the use of snowmobiles before 7 a.m and after 11 p.m.
Snowmobilers are required to abided by the laws within the Motorized Snow Vehicles Act of Ontario. Violations of the Bylaw and The Motorized Snow Vehicles Act can result in a fine. Violations of these Acts or Impaired Driving laws may result in your snowmobile being seized, drivers licence suspensions or serious injury or loss of life.