Gov. Mark Dayton recently proclaimed this week (Jan. 20-28) as snowmobile safety awareness week in Minnesota.

This an opportunity for the Department of Natural Resources, volunteer safety instructors, the Minnesota United Snowmobilers Association (MNUSA) and its 250 member snowmobile clubs to join together to recognize the importance of safe, responsible snowmobiling.

“It’s a fun and exciting activity, but snowmobilers should always remember to make safety a top priority,” said Bruce Lawrence, DNR conservation officer and recreational vehicle coordinator. “They should also always use common sense and keep a clear head when riding.” 

What follows are some other key safety points:

• Snowmobiling and alcohol don’t mix – don’t drink and ride.

• Smart riders are safe riders – take a snowmobile safety training course.

• Always wear a helmet and adequate clothing.

• When night riding slow down – expect the unexpected.

• Know before the ride – always check local trail and ice conditions.

• Cross with care.

• Know risks and be prepared – make every trip a round trip.

• One is the loneliest number – never ride alone.

• Ride safe, stay on the trail – respect private property.

To legally ride a snowmobile in Minnesota, residents born after Dec. 31, 1976 need a valid snowmobile safety certificate.

Options for both classroom and online classes can be found on the DNR Web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us.

People can find upcoming Minnesota snowmobiling events and activities on the MNUSA Web site at mnsnowmobiler.org.

Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Department of Transportation