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State Park Police, State Troopers, DEC police & forest rangers remind snowmobilers to ride safely

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Thu, Feb 18th 2021 11:05 am

With the recent snowfall, the New York State Park Police, State Police, Environmental Conservation police officers and forest rangers are reminding all snowmobile riders to make safety their priority in an effort to reduce the number of personal injury and fatal accidents throughout New York. 

Law enforcement officers will be out on the snowmobile trails enforcing state law with particular emphasis placed on snowmobiling while intoxicated, unsafe or reckless operation, and the enforcement of all speed limits, including the state’s maximum speed of 55 mph.

“In cooperation with other law enforcement agencies throughout the state, State Park Police, State Troopers, environmental conservation officers and forest rangers will be out this weekend vigorously enforcing speed limits, reckless operation, operating while intoxicated laws and snowmobile registration requirements,” said Chief Mark VanWie of the State Park Police. “We make every effort to ensure a safe recreational snowmobile season for all riders. By knowing and following safety recommendations, riders can help ensure they have an enjoyable time on the trail."

Acting State Police Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen said, "There is no excuse for operating any motorized vehicle or device while impaired, whether it be a vehicle or snowmobile. We want those who take advantage of the beautiful trails in our great state to enjoy them, but we also want them to do so safely. Don’t operate impaired. Law enforcement will be doing our part to keep our trails safe for all. By making responsible and common sense choices, New Yorkers can do their part, as well.”

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "Snowmobiling continues to be one of New York state's most popular winter activities and we encourage outdoor enthusiasts to check out the abundant trails that are available close to home. In addition to the usual precautions for riding safely and following the rules, I join State Parks and State Police in reminding all people to wear masks, socially distance and observe the other important guidelines to stop the spread of COVID-19."

So far this season, there have been seven fatal snowmobile accidents, claiming eight lives.

State recommendations for safe riding include:

√ Prior to starting your ride, check over the snowmobile to make sure it is in good working order and carry emergency supplies.

√ Always wear a helmet and make sure to wear the proper snowmobile gear, including bibs, jackets, boots and gloves.

√ Always ride with a buddy or at least one other person.

√ Ride responsibly and within your abilities.

√ Always ride to the right side of the trail especially at hillcrests and curves.

√ Operate at a speed, which is safe and prudent for the given conditions.

√ Respect landowners, obey posted signs, and stay on the marked trail.

√ Frozen bodies of water are not designated trails. If planning to ride on ice, proceed with caution and be aware of potential hazards under the snow. Consider wearing a snowmobile suit with flotation built-in and carry a set of ice picks as a precaution.

√ Never drink alcohol or use drugs and ride.

Everyone operating a snowmobile should be familiar with safe riding practices and all applicable laws, rules and regulations. The state said the best way to learn is by taking a snowmobile safety course. To find a course, visit https://parks.ny.gov/recreation/snowmobiles/education.aspx. A safety certificate is required for youth between ages 10 and 18.

Snowmobile rules apply on all local and club trails, as well as the 10,500-mile statewide trail system, which traverses 45 counties and includes lands under the jurisdiction of state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the state Department of Environmental Conservation, New York Power Authority/State Canal Corp., local governments, and many private landowners.

State Parks oversees the development, maintenance and oversight of a statewide snowmobile program. For more information on snowmobiling in New York, visit https://parks.ny.gov/recreation/snowmobiles/.

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