What three things just don’t mix well with a picturesque winter landscape such as the one I see as I look out my window in Geneva, New York this evening? Answer: Snowmobiles, drinking and speed. Yes, I know I already recently blogged about snowmobile accidents in New York , but snowmobiling is on my mind because of this wintery weather we are having. Here’s some more important safety information for New York sledders:
There are over 130,000 registered snowmobiles in New York State, and almost 11,000 miles of official snowmobile trails. Speed and alcohol are by far the two biggest factors in causing snowmobile accidents and fatalities. The deadliest sledding season ever recorded in New York was the 2002-2003 season, which, according to the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, took 31 lives. Fortunately, the 2008-2009 season (last year) took only 14 lives in New York. The fatalities last year seemed to cluster in the southern Adirondacks, near Long Lake (Hamilton County) and Otter lake (Oneida County).
All the experts say that excessive speed is almost always a factor in snowmobile crashes. Our experience bears this out: At Michaels & Smolak, we handle claims every year on behalf of innocent snowmobilers injured by the negligence, carelessness and recklessness of other sledders, usually involving excessive speed.
I recently found a good, short video with safety tips for snowmobilers, which I want to share with you. Here it is. Sledders, watch it, and do it!: