There is nothing like hitting the snow on a clear Alberta day with family and friends and with all the wide open spaces our province has to offer, it might seem like the space is unlimited – but it is not. There are rules and traffic regulations to be followed regarding where you can ride and regulations and cautions that must be followed to enjoy the sport.

There are provincial and national associations for snowmobilers that provide tips for safe rides, but Battle River Power Coop would like to caution snowmobilers about guy-wires. A guy-wire is a tensioned cable designed to add stability to a free-standing structure. Some utility poles buried in the ground have sufficient strength to stand on their own while others need guy-wires to support loads and to resist ground movement. The lower end where the cable enters the ground is often encased in a length of yellow plastic reflector to make it more visible, so people or vehicles do not run into it.

However, not all free standing poles or structures may have reflectors and depending on snow depth and weather condition these guy-wires, with and without reflectors, may not be clearly visible.

Depending on where you are riding, you may encounter free standing structures, including utility poles, with guy wires. It is important to ‘know where you go’ and be aware of areas that may include guy-wires so on sunny days where glare can affect vision or snowy days when visibility is poor, you remember to look out for guy-wires and stay clear or slow down around them. It is also important to note that depending on the machine, when a driver may be able to pass under the wire, a passenger who might be slightly elevated would not. Stay safe and stay clear of guy-wires!

Where to Ride in Alberta

In Alberta, snowmobiles are considered off-highway vehicles, and there are guidelines in the Traffic Safety Act that define their area of operation. The Rules & Regulations Applying to Small Vehicles include the following:

Prohibited Operation: An off-highway vehicle may not be operated on any highway, road or ditch unless permission has been expressly granted. In the case of a provincial highway, the Minister may by “order” or “permit” authorize such vehicles along any portion of a highway (Traffic Safety Act, Section 120(4)(a)(i) & (ii)). In the case of a municipality, the council of a municipality may, through bylaw, authorize such vehicles along any portion of a highway (Traffic Safety Act, Section 120(4)(b)). Note: Definition of “highway” includes the ditches alongside the roadway.