Four people die in three days on Quebec snowmobile trails
MONTREAL — Despite a deadly weekend for snowmobilers in Quebec, the province's snowmobile association says the number of deaths associated with the winter vehicles has declined in recent years.
Four snowmobilers died in separate crashes in the province since Friday.
"For a few years, we have had a decrease in deaths; we do a lot of awareness-raising, a lot of campaigns during the year," Alexandra Frappier, director of communications and marketing at the Fédération des clubs de motoneigistes du Québec, said in an interview.
"For us, one death is one death too many."
So far this year, 13 snowmobilers have died in Quebec, compared to 24 last year, Frappier said, but she warned against drawing direct comparisons because the current season is not over.
Quebec provincial police said a man in his 60s died in St-Cuthbert, Que., around 90 kilometres northeast of Montreal, after his snowmobile collided with a tree Sunday morning.
A day earlier, a man in his 50s died in Saguenay, Que., from injuries he suffered after his vehicle hit a tree.
On Friday, a snowmobiler in his 40s died after colliding with another snowmobile in Quebec's Beauce-Centre region, south of Quebec City, hours after a snowmobiler in his 30s died after his snowmobile swerved off a trail in Ste-Hélène-de-Bagot, Que., east of Montreal.
While Frappier said the causes of the four deaths will have to be determined by the coroner's office, she said it's important for snowmobile riders to adapt their driving to weather and trail conditions.
Data from Quebec's coroner's office also suggests a downward trend in the number of snowmobile deaths. In 2019, the most recent year for which data was immediately available, 22 snowmobilers died in the province, down from 25 the year before and an average of 27 people a year between 2013 and 2017.
Provincial police have called for prudence on snowmobile trails as many families are on vacation for spring break.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2023.
Jacob Serebrin, The Canadian Press