Snowmobile Deaths On The Rise
Snowmobiling is a popular recreational activity during the winter in New York. While most of the time, these are safe vehicles to operate and ride, accidents do occur. During the 2016-17 season, there were 183 snowmobile accidents in New York. Of those, 20 were fatal, resulting in 24 deaths. This is an increase over 2015-16, but this may be attributable to more favorable conditions during the previous season, leading to more snowmobile registrations. One thing that can help to prevent accidents is taking a safety course, as New York Upstate reports.
The New York State Parks Department touts itself as a leader in snowmobile safety education. Unfortunately, the statistics don’t agree.
Fewer people are taking the time to take safety courses. 2005-2006 numbers were approximately 6,500. For the 2017-2018 season, those numbers fell to about 2,000.
This winter, New York also led the country with the most snowmobile fatalities, putting it ahead of both Michigan and Wisconsin. Both states have more registered snowmobilers than New York.
A safety course is not required to enjoy the recreational activity of snowmobiling. New York only requires those aged 10-17 to take a free safety course taught by volunteers. Adult snowmobilers, however, do not have to take the course. 75% of the 2,000 people who took the course last year were minors.
All of the victims in the 21 fatalities were adults aged 18 or older and they were all New Yorkers.