Morning Read: Snowmobile accidents claim 2 in Lewis County

It’s been a slow, hard winter for the snowmobile industry.  Over the weekend, separate accidents in Lewis County claimed two men, according to the Watertown Daily Times.

Sgt. [Ryan] Lehman said that he did not know whether Lewis County ever had two fatal snowmobile accidents within a 24-hour period before.

With the lack of snow much of the winter, he noted that it has not been a good season for snowmobiling in the county, which is known for the winter sport and trails.

“We’re one of the areas of the state that has marginal snow,” he said.

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8 Comments on “Morning Read: Snowmobile accidents claim 2 in Lewis County”

  1. If Clapton is God, Warren Haynes is Jesus says:

    My co-worker and I had a discussion Friday morning at work in which we both predicted a snowmobile fatality this past weekend somewhere in the North Country.

    Sadly, we’re able to make this prediction because we’re both residents of Lewis County and snowmobile enthusiasts ourselves and have seen the kind of behavior that leads to these fatalities. That is to say we’ve seen time and time again riders driving too fast on trails with minimal snow base and instead very icy conditions. To be frank, some riders are so crazy for the sport they put themselves and everyone else on the trails at great risk without a second thought on how dangerous their actions are to themselves much less anyone else.

    From what I gather in reading about both fatalities, it sounds like unsafe speed could have been the cause of both accidents. You simply can’t control a huge machine on ice when you turn it into a rocket (which is what some of these overpowered sleds can become if ridden improperly) and try and turn it on a corner. Adrenaline is a scary drug….

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  2. hamcotrailrider says:

    I would like to express my condolences to the family and friends of these individuals, but let me say this.

    Snowmobiling used to be a very safe sport. It still is, if you are careful. Unfortunately, you can’t assume everyone else is being careful. I have nothing against speed where appropriate, but with the speeds easily attainable in a very short distance by modern snowmobiles, and the feeling of control, is much easier to ride actually out of control and be a real threat than in the ‘old days.’

    Unfortunately, there is a segment of the snowmobiling population that are only in it for the speed rush. I would not use the words “crazy for the sport” to describe these riders because they obviously do not care about the sport, only about satisfying their need for speed. They put everyone else at risk and give the sport a bad name.

    Chances are, they are the same ones that will ride around or over anything in the trail instead of stopping to pick it up, but then they will complain that he volunteers who take care of the trails are not doing their ‘job.’

    These individuals are simply trail users, not a part of the real snowmobiling community.

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  3. Millie says:

    Very well said Hamcotrailrider.

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  4. roady says:

    Just like anything else it’s only as safe as you make it.

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  5. Lucy Martin says:

    And, across the border, CBC reports (1/23/12) “Snowmobile crashes have claimed five lives over a two-day period on Quebec trails and roads.”

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  6. Keith Silliman says:

    I avoid the trails when (1) there is litle snow cover or (2) they are busy. Tend to limit myself to early morning rides (before 10 AM). Did go out with two others, who asked me to show them the trails this past Saturday afternoon. For the most part, oncoming sleds did slow when meeting us on the trail. A few did not. Was passed from behind only once, and that was done in a safe manner.

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  7. Paul says:

    What is the real data on snowmobile safety. Are the number of accidents relative to the number of sleds on the rise? Or is the coverage of the accidents that do happen on the rise? I have not ridden on one in many years, I was just curious to know what the real statistics are.

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  8. Larry Zajac says:

    My condolences to the Ed Kohles family. It was an unfortunate accident/mistake. Speed or icy corners were NOT a factor in this incident. The sled turned right, tipped over onto it’s left side and rider fell head first into an oncoming sled. Terrible situation. Oncoming sled moved to the far right of the trail inches away from a tree. Unavoidable contact. First hand knowledge of this. All involved agreed on this information. All involved have 25 to 35 years riding experience. All 50 to 65 years of age. It happened and we may never know exactly of the cause.

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