Staying safe on snowmobiles

SOUTH BEND, Ind.-- With a beautiful weekend of 50 degrees here after a rough few weeks of winter--you might think winter sports are over and done with.

However the DNR says that is just not true.

Year in and year out when the snow comes, Hoosiers are never afraid to get out and hop on their snowmobiles for a ride.

But what does that mean for bystanders trying to stay safe while keeping the riders safe as well?

“This time of year be aware that they could be out, kind of like motorcycles when it’s warm out there’s snowmobiles out. In some counties they can be risen on the roadways and they can cross the roadways too so be aware of that," says Tyler Brock, a conservation officer for the Indiana DNR.

This year conservation Officer Brock says there is no shortage of registrations.

As soon as the snow hit snowmobilers were out on the trails.

From day one riders to those wanting to test out a new stimulus check toy, the trails have been busy with the recent snow fall.

But while there are rules of the road, that rings true for the snow trails too.

When there is so much available space for snowmobilers to go, Brock says residents shouldn't be seeing them on their private property.

"We've got over 200 miles of snowmobile trails in Indiana and a lot of that is through private property so we really encourage people to stay on the trail cause if they get off one they could be trespassing and two there might be hazards they don’t know about. You know things they could hit or fall into so be familiar with where you’re riding," says Officer Brock.

But what is the main issue concerning authorities when riders are out to play this time of year?

“Operating on private property without permission. We get a lot of complaints of that. All over northern Indiana not just where the trails are. That’s the number one complaint we get. Ridding to close to houses, the noise, and just wreck less operation. Speeding occasionally," says Brock.

While this is not an umbrella issue, there are plenty of riders doing exactly what they are supposed to.

They are fully registered with stickers showing on their snowmobiles, they are staying on the public trails, and are watching out for hazards and people.

However, it's those few bad apples or people who just don't know the rules that we are trying to reach this morning.

If riders aren't where they are supposed to be, that can create issues for pedestrians and residents alike.

DNR officials just want to have a safe season and that both residents and riders doing their part.

“If they see people violating the law or have issues with snowmobiles trespassing on their property they can always call our 24/7 dispatch center and have a conservation officer give them a call to see what their options are. Be safe. Always where your safety gear when riding helmet, the goggles. And never operate under the influence of alcohol or drugs," says Officer Brock.

If you are interested in registering your own snowmobile or have questions regarding riding you can head to the Indiana DNR's website.

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