A 49-year-old woman walking her dog was seriously injured in Carleton Place on February 22, 2021 when struck by a snowmobile on Lanark County’s Ottawa Valley Recreation Trail (OVRT). The woman was rushed to hospital.
A new study, compiled by Lanark Residents for Safe Trails (LRST), demonstrates the acute dangers to pedestrian users of the OVRT posed by snowmobilers, particularly in urban areas. Over the weekend of January 22 to 24, travelling speeds of 665 snowmobiles on the Almonte segment of the OVRT were recorded using specialized camera equipment. The results were alarming.
Eighty percent of snowmobilers exceeded the posted speed limit of 20 km per hour by at least 10 km per hour and 48 percent by at least 20 km per hour. Twelve percent of snowmobiles were travelling at over 60 km per hour and five exceeded 100 km per hour.
LRST has repeatedly warned of dangers posed by motorized vehicles, particularly in the urban areas of Carleton Place, Pakenham, and Almonte. To date, Lanark Council has dismissed these concerns, contending that existing safety measures were sufficient to ensure that snowmobiles and ATVs could safely use the trail alongside pedestrians.
The LRST study and the serious accident in Carleton Place highlight the inadequacy of existing safety measures and the need to bring an immediate end to motorized use of the OVRT in urban settings.
The Lanark Residents for Safe Trails (LRST) statement reads:
Since the opening of the multi-use OVRT in 2018, Lanark County Council has rejected citizens’ concerns about pedestrian safety on the trail, especially in urban areas, contending that existing safety measures were sufficient.
A new LRST study provides alarming evidence that widespread disregard of posted speed limits by snowmobilers poses a significant and ongoing danger to pedestrian users. Over the weekend of January 22 – 24, 2021, the speeds of 665 snowmobiles were measured. The results were alarming:
- Fewer than 10% of the snowmobiles were travelling less than 25 km/h;
- Nearly half of the snowmobiles were travelling more than twice the speed limit;
- Of the 665 snowmobiles observed, 77 were travelling more than 60 km/h;
- Five were travelling over 100 km/h;
- One snowmobile was observed after midnight despite the 11:00 PM restriction.
Sadly, the serious accident on the OVRT in Carleton Place was both predictable and preventable. Let us not wait for a fatality. Lanark County Council has the opportunity now to create a safe environment for OVRT pedestrian users. We call on Council to immediately prohibit motorized use of the trail in urban settings.