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With state’s highest snowmobile crash rate, Lewis County sends safety message

Published: Dec. 30, 2021 at 4:49 PM EST
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TOWN OF TURIN, New York (WWNY) - In Lewis County, where snowmobiling is very popular, officials have a message to send.

“We got the highest accident rate in the state in Lewis County. So, we gotta reduce that,” said Deputy Mike Leviker, Lewis County Sheriff’s Department.

Last season, the county saw 39 snowmobile crashes, involving 51 people total. Three crashes were fatal.

“Speed’s definitely the leading factor in all the accidents,” said Leviker.

To avoid another high crash year, officials are sending a message to riders before they hit the trails.

“Daredevils, there’s a place for you to ride. It’s called your private property,” said Rob Snyder, Oneida County Sheriff’s Office.

Officials say they see riders blowing stop signs, not staying their course, and thinking more with their throttle finger than their head.

“It’s mostly just people not paying attention until the last second and then it’s too late,” said Leviker.

A big thing in snowmobiling is stopping at local businesses for a bite to eat and a drink. Officials say you can still enjoy that without becoming a danger to yourself and others.

“Ride responsibly. Save the big celebration until after your ride is over. Act like it’s your kid coming around the corner,” said Chris Skipper, Turin Ridge Riders Snowmobile Club president.

Officials are taking steps to help snowmobilers in distress.

“Every groomer in Lewis County is outfitted with this radio. Once you have a clear frequency, you can speak to dispatch and call in any accident scene,” said Josh Leviker, Turin mayor and Lewis County Snowmobile Association President.

But at the end of the day, it’s up to each rider to drive responsibly.

“Let’s have a happy new year and a safe snowmobile season and please watch the speed and consumption of alcohol and be respectful of landowners,” said Lewis County Sheriff Mike Carpinelli.

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