DNR reminds snowmobilers to ‘Think Smart Before You Start’

Published: Jan. 15, 2021 at 5:00 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - It’s easy to keep a distance of six feet when you’re out in Wisconsin’s great outdoors. Which is what makes snowmobiling even more enticing this year.

With snow totals picking up, so are John Weir’s sales at Fluff Pen Powersports in Eau Claire. Weir told WEAU,

“Every day is like a zoo. With COVID everyone is looking for some form of normalcy and snowmobiling provides that.”

With more than 200,000 registered snowmobiles in the state, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources wants to make sure we’re playing it safe.

Outdoor skills trainer Linda Xiong points to early 2020 as a reminder about the dangers of hitting a trail.

“A lot of times it could be driver inexperience or just the operator error leading to the causes of these snowmobile fatalities,” said Xiong.

Last year in Wisconsin, 19 people were killed in snowmobile related accidents from January to March.

From his experience, Weir says checking equipment frequently is an easy step towards safe riding.

“Keeping your headlights, taillights and brake lights going is what I try to push towards people because it not only keeps you safe, but other people because you know where everyone is at.”

Xiong adds education is not only key, but required.

“You do have to have a valid snowmobile safety certificate in most snowmobile areas so they’ll have to either take an in person class if they’re looking for the experience or anyone over 16 can go the online route.”

Fines for violating snowmobile laws can range from $137 - $2,000. To see more safety tips or to sign up for a safety course click here.

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