CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU/AP) - Warm winter days in Wisconsin can be hard to come by but when they happen it means snowmobile trails around the area see more traffic. But as ridership grows the Wisconsin DNR wants to stress safety.
The DNR says since the beginning of this season seven people have died due to snowmobile accidents.
“There is a lot of traffic out with this warm weather,” Lake Wissota Trail Blazers snowmobile club member Mike Lowe said.
Lowe has been riding sleds with the Trail Blazers for more than 15 years. He says this year’s winter conditions have been ideal for snowmobiling but that also means he is more cautious on the trails.
“There are a lot of people that don't get out much and just ride on the weekends. So they tend to go wider on the trails so experienced people need to watch it and be aware,” Lowe said.
Caution and awareness are two of the key things the Wisconsin DNR is stressing as it kicked off International Snowmobile Safety Week on Saturday. They say of the seven deadly accidents that have happened so far this year, six involved speed and three involved alcohol.
“It’s just like anything else. Enjoy in moderation. If you’re going to have a cocktail or two that's fine but you certainly don't want to over indulge on the trail,” Lowe said. “You drink too much you're going to hurt yourself or someone else that's the bottom line.”
The DNR also recommends riders take a snowmobile safety course before taking to the trails. There are several courses scheduled in our area in the coming weeks. You can see a full list under Related Links.
ORIGINAL STORY (AP) - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is urging snowmobilers to celebrate International Snowmobile Safety Week by using caution.
The International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association started the safety week in 1995. This year's week began Saturday and will run through Jan. 26.
Seven people have died in Wisconsin since the beginning of the 2013-2014 snowmobile season. DNR officials say preliminary information shows three of the seven deaths involved alcohol, six involved speed and three occurred at night.
They say snowmobilers should slow down, avoid alcohol, wear helmets and take a safety course.