Thursday 8 December 2022
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Saratoga County Is Cracking Down On Speeding Snowmobilers

Upstate New York is known for its great snowmobiling, and the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department is making sure it stays that way. According to My Champlain Valley, the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department is cracking down on snowmobile speeding after a significant increase in accidents between 2016 and 2017.

Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo says it’s speeding that’s been the leading cause of these accidents. “We receive phone calls from residents of snowmobiles operating at a high rate of speed on these trails,” said Zurlo.

Snowmobilers who opt to ignore the law not only put residents in danger but also themselves. According to NYUp, one Upstate New York man died while driving a snowmobile without a helmet. When the vehicle hit a tree, the man was ejected from the snowmobile.

To deter snowmobilers from dangerous decisions, the Sheriff’s Department is increasing their number of patrols around the Zim Smith Trail. “We just took the special training which is a week-long course,” said Sergeant Brent Dupras. “The Sheriff wants us out there checking for safety and registration compliance.”

There are as many as 1.2 million registered snowmobiles in the United States. As with any other motor vehicle, registration is necessary to ensure the safety of those on the trail.

Fender benders, high speed collisions, weather, and negligence are the four main causes of auto body damage as well as bodily damage in the case of snowmobiling. Whiplash and back pain are some of the most common injuries after an accident. In fact, up to 80% of the U.S. population will experience some type of back pain during their lifetime.

The Zim Smith Trail can be considered dangerous when snowmobilers don’t take the speed limit seriously. Compared to roadways, the trail is shared with pedestrians and dog walkers.

“I’m just taking my daily walk,” said Martin Wylde, a resident of Ballston Spa. “I go about three miles a day here, sometimes longer. Right after it snows, I usually don’t because that’s when the snowmobiles come out.”

It’s for this reason that cracking down on the speeding is necessary, the Sheriff Department said. The trail is meant to be fun for everyone including pedestrians.

Sergeant Dupras pointed out that the speed limit is no secret, nor is the fact that the department will be cracking down on those who choose not to comply with it. The goal is to keep everyone on the trail safe, Dupras said.

New York State offers over 10,000 miles of designated trails for this exhilarating sport. In turn, the snowmobile industry generates over $800 million annually for the state economy.

However, popularity doesn’t put snowmobilers above the law. The Saratoga County Sheriff Department will be patrolling the Zim Smith Trail as long as there’s snow.

“If you can hear a snowmobile, just get off to the side [of the trail],” said Zurlo. “And if [you] see somebody acting in a reckless manner, just let our agency know and we’ll be down here to enforce it.”