Yukon North Of Ordinary

News archive for September 28, 2012

New season to bring new snowmobile rules

As snowmobile operators ready their equipment for the coming season, the city is reminding them to also get ready for new rules.

By Stephanie Waddell on September 28, 2012 at 3:37 pm


Photo by Whitehorse Star

Const. Louis Martel

As snowmobile operators ready their equipment for the coming season, the city is reminding them to also get ready for new rules.

Bylaw manager Dave Pruden and education Const. Louis Martel held a press conference this morning to remind residents that the new Snowmobile Bylaw will take effect this winter.

Martel noted the city will begin informing people of the changes through an education campaign followed by enforcement if need be: first through warnings and then fines.

Included in the new provisions – along with helmet use, insurance, speed limits, prohibited areas and so on – is the requirement that riders have a snowmobile safety card by Jan. 5, 2013.

The card – required of all riders – can be obtained through an online test on the city’s website at http://www.whitehorse.ca/snowmobiles. It comes at a cost of $34.95 plus the GST.

Pruden noted the cost is priced so the city can recover its cost of administering the course. The city, he said, is not making any money off of it.

“I think it’s a very good course,” said Martel, who recently took the roughly three- to five-hour session.

While it may take up to five hours to complete the entire curriculum, Martel said, riders can do it at their own pace with the topics divided into five chapters with a small quiz at the end of each.

The main test, which riders must get 80 per cent on to receive their safety card, comes at the end of the course.

If the course is failed, the participant can take the test again at no charge.

Martel said the course covers everything from general machine maintenance to safety to etiquette, for example showing riders how to pass pedestrians by slowing down to at least 15 kilometres an hour as they pass, and only increasing their speed when it’s safe to do so.

Once the course is passed, riders can print off a temporary safety card, with the permanent laminated card to be mailed to them. There are no renewal requirements for the card, but riders must carry it whenever they’re out on their snowmobiles.

“The city’s new Snowmobile Bylaw has a number of new provisions designed to enhance public safety and environmental protection, including requirements for riders to take a mandatory online safety test,” Mayor Bev Buckway said in a statement.

“Once completed successfully, riders will receive a snowmobile safety card which they will be required to carry on their person when they are out on the trails.”

Martel will also be doing school presentations on snowmobile safety.

CommentsAdd a comment

Just Say'in

Sep 28, 2012 at 10:44 pm

Perfect let’s just create another government job. Yep that will solve all of our problems. Help me out…. What percentage of the Yukon already work for some department of Government that only has my best interest at heart.

sled family

Oct 1, 2012 at 8:36 am

I know this has been kicked to death, but there are a few unmentioned extremely negative outcomes to the new rules: 
-no more family rides,  due to having to be 16 and have a license. Which will lead to,
-no more KSA,  memberships will fall off, as this is a ‘family club’, why get a membership if you can’t ride with the family in the city?  Which will lead to,
-no more groomed trails for the skiers and walkers.  Which will lead to more whining and more taxes to pay cause next they will get their own groomer and driver.
Way to go COW,  way to take a perfect opportunity for tourism and winter jobs, not to mention FUN, and drive it right down the toilet!  And of course all the little Brats who race through the neighbourhoods will be abiding by the new rules?  Yeah right!  That’s the joke in all this crap,  you will still lay in your beds at night and listen to the same bad eggs.  Enjoy!

Too Much

Oct 1, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Well first the snowmobiles then the quads and UTV’s. Funny how I still see bike riders without helmets, maybe they should have taken a stupid course or get licensed and insurance, how irresponsible. It is not the Governments fault but the city’s.It is trying to create a city that people from the big city’s are used to with tiny city lots with illegible rental suite’s and don’t you have family fun unless it’s our way. Sounds like a regime where one the group gets what they want and every one else suffers. So much for our responsible family rides, but if you take a course your okay. Can’t imagine the irresponsible ones changing!!! Hope you whiners are happy, my kids hate you, from their mouth’s not mine! Maybe educate not irradicate a Yukon way of life!


Oct 2, 2012 at 8:00 pm

Honestly who cares if the KSA folds.  They are an elitist group anyway.

They’d like you to think they built every trail in the Yukon when the vast majority of they were game trails, survey lines, mining roads and traplines.

archie bunker

Oct 3, 2012 at 4:38 pm

This past weekend I was out riding my licensed and registered dual purpose motorcycle.  While riding down the trail I encountered a duo walking their large dogs.  As I was travlelling slow and respectfully I noticed that the dogs had made a deposit on the trail, in my attmept to miss the deposit and go out of my way to drive around the walkers and unleashed dogs,I crashed.  I was injured and damaged my bike.  I am proposing that dog walkers insure their pets or at least pick up their dogs business on the trail.
I had to call friend to come and pick me up.  They approached on the licensed and insured UTV.  On the way out off the trail we were rounding a corner that led up a hill and to our surpise were a pack of mtn bikers flying down the hill.  IF it was not for the wisdom and expereince of the UTV driver he chose to drive off the trail to avoid injuring or killing one of the cyclists.  Unfortunately there was damage to his UTV.  I doubt these cyclist have registered or insured their bikes.  I wonder if the city could look at a course to educate dog owners and cyclists as well develop a bylaw requiring dogs and bikes be registered and insured.


Oct 3, 2012 at 5:55 pm

Ruby - every year I see KSA volunteers out maintaining and improving trails and bridges.  Funny how I never see any dog walkers, outspoken retired teachers, or others who seem to think the trail network belongs to themselves and their ilk, out maintaining the trail network.  Getting out there with a power saw and moving brush is dirty work after all.

As for KSA being elitist, that’s quite the statement. Last time I checked, any snowmobiler could join.  But I guess it’s easier to whine and complain than it is to join an organization that actually works to accomplish something useful, eh?

Billy Polson

Oct 4, 2012 at 7:21 am

With the enforcement record of YG I doubt a lot of compliance will result…besides, seeing helmetless, plateless, ‘dangerous’ snowmobile riders will allow for a lot of fodder for these pages…no victory there for the anti’s.

Stan Rogers

Oct 4, 2012 at 12:24 pm

What a good tact by some commentors. Try and turn the tables with blame and dogma about mountian bikers and people walking their dogs.

My experience- I have never heard people walking or biking screaming after drinking or shooting firearms within city limits. I have never seen drunk walkers or drunk people with dogs or drunk people on mt bikes in my neighbourhood which is 16 km out of town

These same good recreational groups are not screaming around at 2am presumably impaired. The motorized vehicle users often leave their beer cans at the end of the trail before they hit the streets.

No sympathy from me- they need to take a course,  have a valid license and need insurance. The proportion of bad motorized users may be about 25% but they sure pull their weight. Whats wrong with a retired teacher calling it for what it really is. Lawlessness and a public safety concern.

We need more enforcement and compliance.

Not a greenie

Oct 4, 2012 at 4:02 pm


Not only has the 2 stroke whine impaired your hearing the fumes have seeped into your gray matter.

KSA may be open to all but clearly not all have the disposable income to buy a machine or have the room to store it. So yeah, call it elitist, or call it exclusive or what ever you want.

You profess that slashing trails is somehow beneficial.  Many would consider enabling larger, more powerful and destructive vehicles deeper into pristine country the exact opposite. As an example. It was one of your bridges that brought in vehicles to destroy a recent reclamation project.


Oct 4, 2012 at 5:40 pm

Oh good, one more law that will not be enforced and that no one will pay any attention to.


Oct 4, 2012 at 10:53 pm

For crying out loud; all the residents of Whitehorse asked for was prevention of snowmobiles roaring down city streets at breakneck speeds at 1:00 am. Are these reckless riders likely to change their ways? We did not ask for a police state that ruins responsible family enjoyment. The new bylaws resemble the Federal gun fiasco-wrong doers do not abide by the law, but the responsible citizen is encumbered with bureaucracy. 40 years ago, before groomed trails for any purpose existed, it was normal for skiers and snowmobilers to share trails. Skiers usually put their tracks at the side of a trail so it was devastating to find snowmobiles had deliberately trashed the ski tracks when there was plenty of other room for them to pass. These riders were also a minority group. Bylaws will not stop people like this.

Seld Family

Oct 5, 2012 at 8:38 am

If there are any candidates in the upcoming election who are willing to stand up for the Yukon families who would like to enjoy time on their snow machines, riding with their children responsibly and respectfully.  Being a part of a group (KSA) designed to bring together like minded people who are out to have fun ‘safely’ who come together to be an active, positive group in Whitehorse.  If you are willing to change or amend a few of the ridiculous rules.  Please speak up! You will definitely have my vote.  Think about it, would it not be just as easy or even easier for bylaw to target the single reckless under aged drivers, who will not stop with the implementation of this new set of laws.  Compared to the under aged drivers riding respectfully and learning with their families?
At the very least there must be someone running who is willing to address concerns such as Archie Bunker has brought up.  This happens all the time, but you don’t hear of it because ‘most’ machine riders have tolerance and acceptance.  I could give 10 examples off the top of my head right now….. but I, like every other law abider will leave the trails in and around Whitehorse to the walkers, the bikers, the skiers….leave them to litter, to let their dogs crap everywhere.  Leave them to be injured without a friendly face on a machine to help them out.  Leave them to look after to overgrowth, the washouts, the bridges needing to be fixed or replaced, leave them with the little noisy dangerous racers who WILL NOT STOP! 
But I guarantee you one thing,  if I’m outside City Limits, out in the bush, at the Summit, or near Fish lake,  you had better stay out of my way!  Don’t even ask me to break trail for you, or drag your carcass up the hill. You had better not even think to ask me for my help, because you will NOT get it.  And I know I’m not alone…..
As they say “careful what you wish for.”

Jackie Ward

Oct 5, 2012 at 11:31 am

I just see these useless regulations as another nail in the coffin for the Yukon. Things seemed to work fine until we had a population boom the last few years. Some southerns’ feelings got hurt so they messed it up for everyone else. What’s next? Roundabouts on trails? I can’t wait till this boom is over. When the jobs dry up the only ones who will stick around are “real” Yukoners. These hippies will be the first to leave. Because we know the only reason anyone has come here is to make money. Not for our wilderness. Fake, fake fake. “The Wilderness City”, lol.


Oct 5, 2012 at 5:06 pm

its a great topic to bring up for the upcoming election.just remember who is pushing this.


Oct 6, 2012 at 9:34 pm

Existing laws require ATVs and snow-machines to be insured, registered and tagged, however those laws continue to be ignored by law enforcement officers.  One can expect that new laws will be useless, ineffective and generally ignored by riders as well.

Stan Rogers

Oct 7, 2012 at 10:10 pm

Jackie Ward

“Some southerns’ feelings got hurt so they messed it up for everyone else.”
Jackie I was never a hippy and have lived in Whitehorse for 31 years. The use of motorized vehicles on trails is way out of whack.

Its lawless and we do need these laws and regulations. What we do not need is people saying it will go back to the way it was. This will not happen due to a slowdown in the economy. We need enforcement and compliance. We need the RCMP to setup trailhead stops randomly to stop the drinking and driving and impaired driving. We need the city to allow use in some areas and then stop it in other areas.

We need more retired teachers or others who are willing to speak up and promote responsible change.
We need responsible trail use which is not happening at this time. A wilderness city requires respect for the wilderness.

Add a comment

In order to encourage thoughtful and responsible discussion, comments will not be visible until a moderator approves them. Please add comments judiciously and refrain from maligning any individual or institution. Read about our user comment and privacy policies.

Your full name and email address are required before your comment will be posted.

Commenting is not available in this section entry.

Comment preview