Michigan hasn’t received as much snow as normal yet this year, but unfortunately snowmobile deaths are already way ahead of the yearly place. So far this winter, there have been a total of 9 snowmobile deaths. There were 5 snowmobile deaths last Monday on Martin Luther King Jr. Day alone. Six of the deaths have occurred in the Upper Peninsula and 3 have died in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. The yearly average for the whole State of Michigan is 15 deaths.
There is a large concern about snowmobile safety this week for obvious reasons. Ryan Aho is a DNR Officer located in Marquette, MI and he stated that “Many fatalities occur because of drinking and driving, high speed or carelessness, all of which are preventable actions.” The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has decided to partner with the Michigan Snowmobile Association to form what they are calling the “Ride Right” campaign. The goal of this campaign is for riders to :
- Keep on the Right Side of the Trail
- Stop Speeding. Keep a Safe Speed.
- Stay Alcohol and Drug Free
- Be Aware and Yield to All Trail Groomers
I have personally frequent some snowmobile trails in Cadillac and can attest to unsafe conditions. There are trails with sharp blind turns where it is extremely important that all drivers know the etiquette of driving and travel at a safe speed. Unfortunately, most riders are either unaware of the rules or simply don’t care. These are the riders that make groomed trails unsafe. No matter how safe you drive, it only takes 1 driver making a mistake to make injury or even death a very common thing.