Ontario Provincial Police
Snowmobile operator requirements
Members of the Sioux Lookout Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) want to remind Motorized Snow Vehicle (MSV) owners and operators that rules for MSV operation are in place to ensure the safety of operators and community members.
The Sioux Lookout OPP have responded to three collisions that have sent MSV operators to hospital this winter. Two of these incidents required first responders to access remote off-road locations to provide injured operators assistance. Additionally, Sioux Lookout OPP officers have issued 30 warnings to MSV owners and operators during preventative MSV patrols this winter, related to licensing, registration, insurance, and permitting requirements. In order to prevent additional incidents, OPP officers would like to remind MSV operators of requirements for MSV operation.
MSV operators are required to abide by the rules of the road, as defined by the Ontario Highway Traffic Act and Motorized Snow Vehicles Act, when operating an MSV on roadways or trail systems. Operations within municipal areas are restricted to specific roadways - refer to Bylaw 93-08 (https://siouxlookout.civicweb.net/document/586) for local bylaws controlling the use of MSV within the Municipality of Sioux Lookout.
Excessive speeds deprive operators the time required to respond to changing trail conditions, obstacles, and other trail users. Unless otherwise posted, the maximum regulated speed for MSVs is 50 kilometers per hour when operating on designated trails or along roads with speed limits posted above 50 kilometers per hour. Where posted speed limits are 50 kilometers per hour or less, operators are restricted to a maximum of 20 kilometers per hour. It is the responsibility of the MSV driver to be operating their MSV with due care and attention and with reasonable consideration to other trail users, or they may face charges of careless driving. This may mean reducing speeds further, to account for experience and skill level, trail conditions, and other persons using trails or roadways.
In addition to operational requirement, if travelling off their own property, MSV drivers must have appropriate documentation with them - including valid driver’s license or Motorized Snow Vehicle Operator’s License (MSVOL), proof of snowmobile ownership, and proof of valid insurance. MSVs must also have the MSV registration number visible on both sides of the sled, and if operating on a trail system, each MSV must have a trail permit attached. Failing to produce any of these documents to a police officer or conservation officer when asked could result in a fine of up to $1,000.
Youth aged 12-15 who are not eligible for a driver’s license may apply for a MSVOL, which allows them to operate their MSV on snowmobile trails so long as all other permit and insurance requirements are met. A MSVOL does not allow operators under 16 years old to travel along, or across, a roadway, even if it is a portion of a designated trail system. In order to cross a roadway, MSVOL operators under 16 must dismount and allow a licensed driver to operate their MSV across these portions of the trail. Youth under the age of 12 are limited to operating MSVs on property owned by the MSV owner.
The Sioux Lookout OPP will be continuing to conduct MSV patrols to maintain public safety on our roads and trails. Officers will be out on local trails and roadways, ensuring operators are following regulatory and operational requirements for MSVs. Owners/operators will be held accountable for noncompliance. This includes enforcement of Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) trail permit requirements on trails maintained by the Ojibway Power Toboggan Association. If you are operating on an OFSCA maintained trail, please ensure this year’s permit is attached to your sled.
For more information about driver requirements and snowmobile safety, please visit www.opp.ca, or the Ontario Ministry of Transportation’s website at http://www.mto.gov.on.ca. To learn more about safe snowmobiling on Ontario’s trails and to access Interactive Trail Guide, please visit www.ofsc.on.ca.