That it is a regular and foreseeable part of snowmobiling in general that
a snowmobile operator will from time to time encounter un-warned of and
unforeseen circumstances involving ice.
That a snowmobile without properly designed and installed traction studs
and carbides basically has no ability to afford the operator any adequate
magnitude of maintaining vehicle control on icy surfaces.
That from time to time, and in the course of normal snowmobiling, operators
will be confronted with rapidly changing surfaces and conditions which
will result in the necessity to be able to turn on paved surfaces. Without
good carbides, the skis of the snowmobile alone may not afford an adequate
level of steering force in these conditions.
That the use of properly designed and installed traction studs and carbides
significantly enhances the ability of an operator to be able to control
his snowmobile on icy or paved surfaces. This control is in the form of
turning and stopping. It is certainly unsafe to ride a machine on an icy
surface that does not have a reasonable balance of carbided skis and studded
track, both properly designed and installed.
That the usage of properly designed and installed traction studs and carbides
significantly enhances the level of snowmobile safety relative to stopping
and turning under the average and normal snowmobiling conditions afforded
to both the snowmobile operator, his passenger, and any other traffic or
pedestrians in an area effected by the operation of said snowmobile.
That in this writer's opinion, the banning of properly designed and installed
traction studs, under normal snowmobiling circumstances, would certainly
create a question as to liability for crashes which occur that would most
likely have been prevented by the enhancements afforded by these traction
products in steering, stopping and general control.
The best answers that can be given at this point to the questions generated
at the beginning of this report are as follows:
How effective are traction products? Basically, on icy surfaces, properly
designed and installed traction products are extremely effective and are
a significant enhancement to the overall level of snowmobile safety for
Under what conditions are traction products most effective? On icy
surfaces as well as paved surfaces that snowmobiles from time to time have
Does the use of traction products enhance safety? Certainly, and without
question. As described above, snowmobiles are designed to be driven on
the snow but in the real world, snowmobilers are frequently faced with
conditions where they have to traverse icy surfaces.
Should traction products be required? This question is best answered
by knowing the conditions that the snowmobile will be operated in. For
someone with a special application whereby they will most likely never
run into icy or paved conditions, it would not be cost effective or fruitful
to require this person to have traction products on the machine. It may
be a good idea to investigate the feasibility of the tracks being predrilled
for studs by the manufacturer so if a person does make the decision they
want a studded track, they can do it relatively easily.
Should traction products be banned? Certainly not. As an expert, and
as the person who has conducted the above study, it is readily apparent
that the banning of studded tracks and ski carbides significantly reduces
the level of snowmobile safety and can certainly result in the occurrence
of accidents which could otherwise be prevented. Any snowmobile operator
should have the opportunity to decide on his own if he wants to use traction
studs or carbides on his snowmobile. I further feel that people who purchase
snowmobiles should be made aware, either through their dealer or the safety
courses they take in their given jurisdictions, of the advantages, dynamics,
and significant enhancements provided by properly designed and installed
snowmobile traction products so they can make an informed decision as how
to set their own machines up.