MADISON – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is reminding snowmobilers that safety is an important part of the ride and is asking all riders to know and review Wisconsin’s snowmobile safety rules and regulations before heading out this winter.
Between January and March 2021, there were 13 snowmobile fatalities in Wisconsin, with alcohol, excess speed, driver inexperience and operator error as the leading causes.
“It’s important to think smart before you start,” said Lt. Martin Stone, DNR Off-Highway Vehicle Administrator. “Winter’s fluctuating temperatures, snowfalls and snow melts can cause unsafe conditions on snowmobile trails. The DNR does not monitor conditions and we suggest snowmobilers contact local fishing clubs, snowmobile clubs or outfitters to ask about the ice conditions in your area.”
-There is no such thing as 100% safe ice. Snowmobilers cannot judge ice strength by factors like appearance, age, thickness or temperature, especially when the ice is snow-covered.
-There is a 55 mph speed limit when traveling at night. Do not overdrive what headlights can illuminate, such as trail markers or hazards.
-Any person who is at least 12 years old born on or after Jan. 1, 1985, is required to have a valid Snowmobile Safety Certificate in order to operate a snowmobile in most areas. Operators must carry the certificate while riding and display it to a law enforcement officer when requested. Visit the DNR Safety Education webpage for details and to locate a class or take an online course.
Other common sense tips include don’t drink and ride, stay on marked trails, always wear a helmet and safety gear and travel with a friend, carry a cell phone and let people know where you are going and when you’ll return home.
Anyone with information regarding natural resource violations, including unsafe snowmobile operation, may confidentially report by calling or texting: VIOLATION HOTLINE: 1-800-TIP-WDNR or 1-800-847-9367. The hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The Sentinel & Rural News covers the news and events of Clark County and southern Taylor County, as well as regional news that affects those areas.