More patrols to come this year; Sampson
© Derek Montague
10 RCMP officers did a snowmobile patrol around Happy Valley-Goose Bay on Feb.6. No fines were handed out during the patrol
A recent RCMP snowmobile patrol in Happy Valley-Goose Bay did not result in any fines or citations, according to community constable Cliff Sampson.
On Thursday, Feb. 6, 10 officers went around he Happy Valley-Goose Bay area on snowmobiles, looking for anyone violating the rules. But, on that day, everyone seemed to be snowmobiling safely and sensibly.
“(It) went well actually. There wasn’t a lot of machines out there…but the ones we did see we’re quite fine,” said Sampson.
“We did speak to some people and…our target yesterday was to get out in the community, show the visibility, show the colours. We want to be visible in the community, and I think we done that...”
According to Sampson, the biggest snowmobile concerns involve machines driving recklessly on the roads and in residential areas. But, so far this winter, the number of complaints is down compared to previous years.
“Most of the complaints we’re receiving…would be snowmobiles operating on the road, at a high speed on the road,” Said Sampson.
“This year, so far, we’ve had very little complaints. We’ve had a couple of complaints but there hasn’t been anything serious.”
According to Sampson, people are allowed to drive their snowmobiles on the shoulder of the road under certain circumstances, in Happy Valley-Goose Bay
But, if people use their snowmobile on a road, the machine must be registered, they must have insurance, and they must have a driver's license. Even if you're just crossing a road, these conditions must be met.
The maximum legal speed limit is 15 km/h, while driving on the shoulder of the road, and a snowmobiler must turn off on the nearest available snowmobile trail.
The Feb.6 patrol may have been the first patrol done by the RCMP this winter, but it won’t be the last. Sampson says that they are hoping to team up with the local snowmobile club and MADD for future outings.
“We covered a lot of areas in town...This is just a warning to people; be aware, we’re going to be there again. When you come into the trails… we may be just sitting there,” says Sampson.
But Sampson says he and the other officers are not out to dissuade people from enjoying their snowmobiles. They just want people to be safe and follow the regulations.
“The message we want to get out to people…when you’re using your snowmobile, use it safely. Stay off the roads. If you got to use the shoulder of the roads to get up to the trail…than do it, but do it safely,” says Sampson.
“We want people to enjoy their snowmobiling, it’s a great sport. But if you’re going to be on the roads and driving crazy…then we’re going to be out there…”