TIMMINS -- The Timmins Police Service says it’s been receiving increased complaints this week over speed, noise and off-limits riding by snowmobilers.

Many of the complaints particularly concern school zones, police said, which are prohibited to snowmobiles. This comes only a few weeks after city council approved expanded snowmobile access along designated streets, during set hours.

“There seems to be a small, but persistent segment of the snowmobile-operating population that insists on breaching those areas that are, in fact, prohibited,” said Marc Depatie, of the Timmins Police Service.

“It’s clearly defined in the bylaw which streets are allowable for snowmobile use.”

It also happens to be Snowmobile Safety Week, where police make an effort to inform sledders about proper snowmobile etiquette and sled-related collision statistics.

The OPP released a report detailing the 55 snowmobiling deaths seen since 2009.

According to the report:

  • 92 per cent of the victims involved in fatalities are males
  • 43 per cent of fatalities occur between 6:00 p.m. and midnight
  • The primary causes include speed and alcohol

For those reasons, police are stressing that adhering to speed limits, wearing a helmet and remaining sober are essential wherever you ride.

“There has to be a courteous and ethical approach to using the city streets. There’s an expectation of reduced speed and enhanced awareness of vehicles pulling out of parking lots or driveways,” says Depatie.

He also noted that snowmobilers shouldn’t ride on sidewalks and should refrain from making modifications to their sleds.

For riders unsure of city bylaws and where they are allowed to ride, the Timmins Snowmobile Club provides city rules and street-access maps on its website