The need for less speed
City considers ways to combat speeding snowmobilers

Richard Gleeson
Northern News Services

NNSL (Feb 17/99) - With council deciding it is not yet time for an outright ban, the city is now considering other ways of combating speeding snowmobilers.

The city's municipal enforcement department is suggesting a number of measures, among them:

  • researching better methods of snowmobile identification

  • work with the snowmobile associations to educate the public about snowmobile safety and rules through news releases and joint patrols

  • continue patrols in areas where snowmobiles and pedestrians conflict

Increasing penalties under the bylaw was not among the recommendations, nor was banning the machines from any portion of the city.

The chairman of the city's public safety committee said Monday he would like to see additional measures taken.

Ben McDonald said he wants to keep snowmobilers on the roads and off the sidewalks in areas, such as Finlayson Drive and Range Lake Road, frequently used by snowmobilers and pedestrians.

"The way to keep them off the sidewalk if you can't catch them -- I think they should be ticketed if they are caught -- is to make driving their snowmobiles on the sidewalk an unpleasant experience," said McDonald.

He said the way to do that is to scrape the sidewalks down to the concrete and spreading gravel on them, making them at least as rough a surface to travel on as the roads.

Identifying reckless snowmobilers was a difficulty recognized by both residents and municipal enforcement at a council meeting last month.

As it stands, the only way a snowmobile can be identified is by a small city-issued licence plate, which is almost impossible to see on machines travelling at high speeds.

A related problem is the large number of snowmobiles that do not register to drive in the city. City bylaws require that machines driving on city roads be licensed for the purpose.

Those protesting snowmobiles on the streets said only a small portion of those that drive within city limits are licensed.

The snowmobile issue was discussed at committee yesterday and will likely be before council at their regular meeting Monday evening.