Two weeks ago Jerry Kneller had a close call.
He was driving on a forest service road in the Jackpine Lake area when he collided with a snowmobiler who Kneller said shouldn’t have been there.
“I was driving up the road and a guy came around the corner and down the road on my side—it was a very narrow piece of road,” said Kneller.
“I tried swerving to the left around him because he was sliding sideways down the road towards me. The back end of his sled hit my front tire, which was about the best thing that could’ve happened.
“After I swerved, I hit the brakes because I didn’t want to run this guy right over. He ended up laying right beside my back tire.”
He said that the incident could’ve ended up much worse, and that’s something he doesn’t want to have to live with.
According to Kneller, the logging road is a plowed road; therefore, it is illegal for snowmobilers to use it.
“It’s a very well used road. There are a lot of ice fishermen, snowshoers and other guys sledding that are driving further up. There is a lot of travel on that road and (snowmobilers) are not being careful.”
Kneller added that he’s not the only one who has had a close call on the road. After telling his father about the collision, his dad indicated that a snowmobiler had launched onto the road in front of him earlier that day.
“These guys are not thinking. It’s not just one; it’s a whole bunch of them. Another guy that I work with had a close call too.”
Kneller added that this is a problem that can be easily prevented.
“You’ve got so many options, and you don’t have to go far. If you’re just trying to find a place that’s close, go up one of those logging roads in your truck and unload at a clear cut or wherever you want to ride. You don’t need to be riding miles and miles up these plowed, well used logging roads.”
Clayton Prince, second vice president of the Kelowna Snowmobile Club, said that he hasn’t any any complaints directed to him about snowmobilers in the Jackpine Lake area; however, riders should be avoiding plowed forest service roads.
“(Kneller) certainly has a right to complain if the road is plowed because it is illegal for a snowmobiler to operate on a plowed forest service road,” said Prince.
He said that the biggest purpose of snowmobile clubs is to focus on safety, but, unfortunately, only a small percentage of snowmobilers belong to clubs.
“Only about 10 per cent of snowmobilers belong to clubs and get the benefit of education. The other 80 or 90 per cent are just out there on their own and often can show a general disregard for registration, rules and all the rest of that.”
Kneller said that he hopes people change their habits before it’s too late.
“It’s just a matter of time before somebody gets killed: Nobody wants that to happen.”