Riding on Thin Ice

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February has not been kind to New York snowmobilers. The most recent incident claimed two lives when two men were killed after a head-on collision when one of the drivers strayed from the proper lane. Emergency personnel were on the scene quickly but it was too late.

This most recent accident was tragic and easily preventable. But head-on accidents claimed far fewer lives in February than the weather itself. Earlier in the month, six men were killed in various incidents when snowmobiling on thin ice. The snowmobiles were much too heavy, the ice cracked, and both vehicles and riders fell through and were unable to get free from the icy water.

Snowmobile riders falling through thin ice is more common than most people realize. The six individuals killed were killed in three separate parts of the state, including:

  • Conesus Lake
  • Raquette Pond
  • Lake Champlain

The geographical diversity of these incidents points to just how widespread the dangers are. Rider experience can be a contributing factor in these incidents, but all too often only the utmost precautions can prevent tragedy. Even for experienced snowmobilers, properly determining the thickness of the ice can be difficult, particularly in unfamiliar areas where a layer of snow can make icy areas even more difficult to identify.

But falling through thin ice isn’t the only environmental danger to snowmobilers. Trees, branches, rocks hidden under snow, and black ice present significant risk factors to individuals taking part in this recreational activity. Being aware of these is of utmost importance.

So many deaths in such a short period of time will hopefully draw attention to these dangers, both for snowmobilers and for the owners of the property where these types of incidents occur. Determining whether or not proper warning was posted can help prevent future deaths from occurring.

If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a snowmobile accident, you know how difficult overcoming the emotional impact can be. Though your instinct may be to attempt to move on in whatever way you can, it is important that a full and thorough investigation takes place to determine whether or not proper safety precautions were followed. Please contact an experienced attorney who can help you press for the answers to these questions.