The Saskatchewan RCMP say 50 per cent of snowmobiles stopped by officers during a Dec. 30 patrol in the Prince Albert, Duck Lake, and Rosthern areas were not registered.
Not all snowmobiles came from the immediate area, with RCMP identifying machines from Saskatoon and beyond.
According to Tuesday media release, these individuals were just a handful of the hundreds that police interact with on snowmobile trails throughout the winter months. Dec. 30 was a Friday and during most weekend trail patrols, officer typically encounter around 75 snow mobiles depending on the location.
Sergeant Jeremy Knodel of Combined Traffic Services Saskatchewan made sure to give credit to those riders who were registered before they went out on the trails.
“Last winter, our enforcement team completed around six snowmobile patrols in our RCMP North District and 85 to 90 per cent of the snowmobiles we encountered were registered properly,” said Knodel. “There’s lots of winter left and we’re hopeful that 50 per cent can be bumped up to meet or exceed what we encountered last winter season.”
The Sask. RCMP would like to remind riders that all you have to do to avoid the $175 ticket is register your snowmobile – which costs considerably less than a ticket if you only register it for a few months per year.
Snowmobiles can be registered at any motor license issuers in Saskatchewan. Riders must have their snowmobile registered before they ride it on public roads (where allowed), ditches, other highway rights of way, provincial parks, Crown land, designated snowmobile trails or on rivers or lakes.
“When conducting snowmobile trail patrols, we are always on the lookout for impaired riders,” added Knodel. “A snowmobile is still a vehicle. We want everyone on the trails to enjoy them safely and part of this is enforcing no alcohol or drug use.”
He noted that consuming alcohol or drugs in warm-up shelters is not permitted – they are alcohol-free and family-friendly zones. Someone violating this could be issued a $250 ticket, in addition to the obvious dangers associated to impaired driving.
RCMP officers will also be actively monitoring snowmobile loading/unloading zones to help ensure no one is driving impaired on Saskatchewan roads.
Knodel said one of the positives is all snowmobile operators and riders they’ve encountered this winter so far were wearing a helmet; wearing proper protective equipment is essential in keeping riders and passengers safe.
“RCMP snowmobiles are equipped with flashing lights,” mentioned Knodel. “If you see us out on the trails and our emergency lights are activated, slow down and pull to the side, just as you would while operating a vehicle on a road. We also stop at warm-up shelters and may ask you to present your snowmobile registration.”
January 15 to 21 marks Snowmobile Safety Week and the Sask. RCMP are asking riders to help contribute to trail safety by following a few simple steps:
• Wear proper protective equipment and weather-appropriate clothing;
• Don’t ride impaired;
• Register your snowmobile;
• Check local trail conditions;
• Always share your snowmobiling plans with someone before heading out;
• Pack extra supplies; and
• Ensure your cell phone is charged.
Combined Traffic Services Saskatchewan officers have completed several joint patrols with conservation officers with the Provincial Protective Services Branch and Lakeland District Protective Services. These partnerships create more officer presence and awareness on the trails and are one part to ensuring people stay safe while enjoying one of the province’s most popular winter sports.