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The Michigan DNR hopes to keep snowmobile riders safe with new initiative

A red snowmobile blazes through thick white snow, snow peppers the vehicle as it braves the harsh conditions. Its rider wears a black helmet and a black coat with green highlights
Courtesy Photo
Michigan Department of Natural Resources
A still image from the Michigan DNR's "Michigan Snowmobiling: Ride Right - Lead Right" safety video

A video released by the DNR informs leaders of snowmobile groups how they can help keep the rest of the pack safe.

The Lead Right initiative focuses on the lead riders of snowmobile groups.

Ron Yesney is the DNR’s Upper Peninsula Trails Coordinator. In a video, he says moderating speed can go a long way toward ensuring a safe riding experience.

According to Yesney, speed is a leading cause of injury and death, especially among less-experienced riders.

“We've seen numerous serious injury and fatal crashes where novice riders were trying to keep up with more experienced riders and sometimes it's the novice rider behind them that can be injured, or killed,” Yesney said.

Yesney said intoxication is another leading cause of snowmobile accidents.

At least 10 of the 19 snowmobile deaths the DNR recorded last season involved drugs or alcohol.

Michael Symonds reports for WMUK through the Report for America national service program.

Report for America national service program corps member Michael Symonds joined WMUK’s staff in 2023. He covers the “rural meets metro” beat, reporting stories that link seemingly disparate parts of Southwest Michigan.