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Discussion Starter #1
I just thought for everyone’s safety I would inform you of the changes to the O.F.S.C. sign policy.

Over the summer months the O.F.S.C. has had meetings with lawyers , a risk management group and the board of directors and this is what they have come up with . ( so don't shoot the messenger )
Currently trail signage varies from trail to trail and club to club. Some clubs have a lot of signs and lead you through the trail, others have virtually none. They have decided this is very dangerous and is opening us up to liability suits.

So starting this season all trails will be signed the same . ( this where it gets interesting ) Forget how you seen and rode the trails last season this year will be a whole new experience. Snowmobiling is an off road experience and the trails and their conditions are subject to change very fast. The speed limit on Ontario trails is 50 km/hr ( important to keep that in mind ) . It is also the responsibility of the rider to travel in a safe manner and speed . ( 50 km/hr ) So we are going to a simpler set of guidelines . At road crossings you will see 5 signs on each side , Stop , Stop Ahead , Prescribed trail , use at you own risk , and a 50 km/hr sign . There are very strict guide lines to where and how these signs are put. You will no longer see any corner signs , danger , caution or any other regulatory or cautionary signs . When there is a hazard on the trail
you will see a slow sign posted 100 - 120 meters from the hazard ( at 50 km/hr you will have enough time to slow down and react to the up coming hazard ) Bridges will be marked with bridge chevrons on either side . Ice crossings will have a sign . All rail road crossings will also be marked with a sign . All improperly placed chevrons have to be removed all corner signs are to be removed . ( standard chevrons can only be used on the left side of a trail in a corner , we are to reduce the numbers of them that we use to 1 or 2 per corner all others must come down , next year they are all to be removed ) The OFSC is developing a new arrow sign ! ( god know when we will get it )
Information signs like seeded area , tree plantation or destination signs are ok to use as long as they are not black and yellow or red and black in color.
The TSS program will be supplying all clubs with the needed signs to enact this new policy. ( before winter arrives ?? )
Also coming soon all trail stakes in the Province will be 5 feet tall , orange in color and be made of 2x 2's and have a white reflector. ( yea that will happen over night )

Ok what does this long winded story mean to you ? Well basically there will about 75 % less signs on the trails this year. The signs that will be there will be in such a place so that when you are traveling at 50 km/ hr you will have time to slow down and react to the hazard . If you are going too fast and crash ...too bad . You were warned what the speed limit was and it is you responsibility to ride in a safe manner . This new signage policy will now stop you from having the ability to fill a liability claim against the club or OFSC and win . After you do loose the OFSC has full intentions of siuing YOU for every cent you got . I can't stress enough how aggressive they are going to be if you attempt to sue them .

There was a person last winter that sued the OFSC because a club had used a 90 degree corner sign is a corner that was only an 85 degree corner ...that guy got 1.2 million for his troubles . And now we all pay because he's a freakin idiot . Also it has been reported that the Sunset Trail Riders in the Kenora area will not be staking or grooming trail this winter on their appx 1200 km of trail due to 3 law suits filled against them over trail signage last year .


Well I'm sure there will be some interesting comments on this topic ! Just remember I’m just the messenger and wanted to let everyone know what to expect on the trails this year and to ride with extreme caution.
I have a bulletin here from the OFSC that I can pass along to anyone that wants it, send me an email or msg if you would like a copy.
 

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maybe the best thing for all of us is to make us sign a release from personal injury form before each season when we recieve the trail permits? and idiots quit sueing over your wrong doings....(((so selfish))))
 

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It's about time that they did something about all the lawsuits.I hope that they are going to have someone on the trails charging people with tresspassing.I don't know about anybody else but I'm tired of coming up on cross country skiers on our trails,and not to forget people hiking with their little muts. !!! !!! !!! !!! !!! :hallo1: :angry:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Actually we already do that . On the OFSC portion of you permit ( white copy ) there is a waiver form there, ( everybody reads that right ???) Any waiver form is not as good as the paper it's printed on , any lawyer can get it tossed out of court . It's sad our sport and society has come to this ! But I suspect it will just get worse in the near future .
 

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Agreed... we have to take responsibility for our own actions. This insurance thing is killing the sport. Me personally, some of these trail signs have saved my butt so I'm dissapointed that they are switching.
I guess it's ride at your own risk
 

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Great, now that trail signage has been set back 20 years where it belongs in order to cover their asz OFSC can ante up and reduce the membership price.

I like the waiver which must be signed in order to recieve membership., however they would have to get around people that are not members and borrow sleds.
 

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First off i am not mad at you indysks. Thank you for passing on this pertinent information.

The OFSC obviously has some really crappy lawyers if they could not beat a five degree difference.
They are being misinformed that removing hazard signs and corner signs will slow people down or protect them from liability issues. This is just going to cause some serious problems down the road. I regret that we even purchased permits this year. What kind of backwards thinking would remove hazrd signs. IT's kinda of funny that the OPP told our entire group that if we doo 100kms or less then they wouldnt bother us.
I for one can say that if myself or any member of my family is injured due to a previous hazard or corner sign being removed that the OFSC will have to deal with my Litigation team.

There is corners signs and hazard signs on our roads why not the trails?

Removing the signs might be okay for locals but god help the unsuspecting tourist

Look like we will be riding in Quebec this year. :)

There are corners and other spots on the trails around here that you could EASILY crash and or die if you were doing the signed speed limit of 50kmh. What is going to happen when someone is seriously hurt crashes on a corner that is unsigned and it is proven they werent speeding? Sound to me like the OFSC will be liable especially in the light of the recent sign removal.
 

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50 km/hr - isn't that like 35 mph? Sounds like a 340 fan would be too fast for your trails! I don't like speed limits, but I can understand the rationale - but not for having to ride just above an idle!
 

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Indy this is not intended for you, THIS IS FRIGGEN NUTS WHAT THE F...???DO THEY REALIZE WHAT THEY HAVE DONE? THERE WONT BE ANY TRAILS OPEN NEXT YEAR BECAUSE BECAUSE BECAUSE SOME PEOPLE "ARE IDIOTS"!!! They will be spending all of next year in court battles with evil lawyers and not to mention the land owners that are going to say scew this I'm tired of hauling broken sleds and dead bodies off my property. Don't get me wrong not everybody is a loser like this but there is enough of them out there. I dont blame the OFSC its the government involvement here it has to be they are the only ones that can be this stupid. 90 degree when its only 85 what abunch of b.s. I cant beilieve any body would think that way
p.s. I'm not saying people are going to win suits but they are going to try
:angry: :angry: :angry: :angry: :angry:
 

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I don't think that we can blame the government for this.The OFSC is far to eager to settle these things(lawsuits).They don't want these things to go to court.I know on the system that I ride on ,a woman decided that it was ok to trespass and went for a walk on the trails.She ended up stepping in a hole on the trail and twisted her ankle.The club settled the suit out of court.Here's the question.Why settle out of court when the woman was trespassing.She was somewhere that she shouldn't have been,so why settle.As long as they have this attitude we will continue to pay more for our trail pass and ins.because the OFSC ins will continue to go up every year. :angry: :angry: :angry: :angry:
 

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Discussion Starter #11
What Your Club Needs to Know Today About Signage

At the direction of the Board of Governors, the OFSC recently entered into a comprehensive risk management program to protect our insurability and to reduce your exposure to the new $50,000 liability insurance deductible. One of the first areas addressed is trail signage, a top priority identified by clubs and our risk management advisors.

The process is being developed by a group of club signage experts. Our entire signage approach is based on providing appropriate visual warnings to safe and prudent riders driving at the legal speed limit or less. It is still evolving and not yet complete, but to clear up any uncertainty, here is the info you need to know for the upcoming season:

1. SIGN GUIDE: the previous OFSC Trail Manual has been withdrawn and partially replaced with a laminated Sign Guide (your club was sent several copies), which is not the complete and final document, but is intended to assist clubs putting up signs this fall. Information will follow soon on staking and lake crossings (stakes will likely be orange with white retro reflective, with implementation required by October 15, 2004).

2. STOP, STOP AHEAD, SLOW and 50 KM/H are in production and have started shipping. These signs (and those in your current inventory) should be installed for this season as indicated on the Sign Guide and in the instructions below.

3. REPLACE CURVE ARROWS: The black on yellow "Curve Arrow' signs presently placed ahead of a curve must be replaced with Slow signs (but must not be removed without a replacement Slow sign).

4. CORNER CHEVRONS: DO NOT REMOVE ALL CHEVRONS at this time. Where a slow sign has been placed ahead of the curve, only one chevron should be positioned in the corner of that curve to indicate the direction of the turn. Any other chevrons in that curve must be removed immediately. By October 15, 2004, it is the intention that all remaining chevrons will be replaced by a new OFSC 'Arrow' sign that does not resemble a chevron, and so cannot be mistaken for a 'highway' sign. When a supply of these new arrows is available (commencing in 2003), you can proceed to replace remaining chevrons at your own pace.

5. REMOVE IMPROPER CHEVRONS: Any chevron that is not positioned in a corner to mark the direction of the turn must be removed immediately. This especially includes any chevrons where the arrow is pointed up or down. If that chevron was intended as a warning, replace it with a Slow sign.

6. SIGN COLOURS: As illustrated on the new Sign Guide, it is intended that signs coloured RED would mean that a rider should stop and pay attention. YELLOW would mean that the rider should slow down. These would be the official OFSC Regulatory and Caution signs. All other signs would be Informational, and by October 15, 2004 must be a colour other than RED or YELLOW. The OFSC intends to provide guidance as to what colour signs such as Moose Crossing, Children at Play, Keep Right, 24 hr Grooming, etc. should be, so until then continue to use these signs, but do not order new ones.

7. TRAIL MARKERS: Clubs should continue to use existing triangular markers with an arrow on them to help indicate the trail, but not to mark corners. A standard OFSC marker will be developed, so until then continue to use your signs, but do not order new ones.

8. REFURBISHING SIGNS: The OFSC is currently working on a process to reface removed signs at a more affordable cost than buying new ones. Please keep any signs you take down until this information is available.

IN CONCLUSION:

Don't panic. The changes noted above will be part of a two year strategy to make OFSC signage more reliable, uniform, simpler, and less work for club volunteers. Please do what you can as and when it is possible for your club, and stay tuned for further updates. Meanwhile, contact your District Signage Coordinator with questions or concerns.

PLEASE SHARE THIS EMAIL WITH

YOUR TRAIL BOSS AND SIGNAGE VOLUNTEERS
( one would also think the riders of the trails should know this too ??? ok you are now all trail bosses and volunteers ! )
 

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Well, I for one certainly hope this is not some knee-jerk reaction to a very real lawsuit problem. I really would like to believe this was done after some in depth consultation with some competent lawyers. After reading this thread over and over, however, these are not the conclusions I am drawing. Don't get me wrong,something has to be done about these parasites suing over anything and everything. I for one though, feel that this response was done in somewhat of a panic mode due to the insurance crisis brewing the last 2 years, and which probably would have resulted in no trail system next year if left unattended. Unfortunately they have done 2 things by their actions - 1/ Admitted there was a problem with the existing signage,which may be disastrous to any ongoing litigation. 2/ Opened up a whole new set of avenues for people to sue. Don't forget, the OFSC is aware that not everyone rides the speed limit, they can't just remove all the warning signs,stick their heads in the sand, and expect these so-called legal professionals to not use that against them in future actions. I honestly would love to see these lawsuits be greatly reduced or eliminated, but IMHO this ain't gonna do it. None of this is directed at you Indy, and thanks for the info. Sorry this is so long but this really pisses me off! Austin :angry:
 

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That was well said Austin! :D
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I have been informed that my first post is somewhat misleading . I said all corner signs are to be removed , that is correct . The ofsc is developing a new arrow sign to be placed in the corners.
If you are used to seeing a corner arrow a long ways back from a corner and having time to react while doing 80 or 100 km/hr , this is whats going to change . The key to this policy is 50 kms or less as stated in that club bulletin I posted . The first sign you will see when approching any thing will be a slow sign 100 -120 meters back , at 50 km/hr you will have time to slow down any faster and oh well your problem .

Also on another note , single staked trails are no longer to be used , as well tripe staked trails over hills are not to be used , a keep right sign is too be placed at the side of the trail .

My intension of this post is not to alarm anyone it is intended to give you a heads up that things are changing , and you need to be made aware. Over all the trails will become more uniforn and safer once everybody gets used to the new system , but that first ride for many might be a shocker
 

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close down all the clubs, sell the groomers, tear down all the warming shacks get rid of trail passes, let the goverment handle the trails, singage laws and everything else. then these idiots can sue the goverment. its stupid 1million dollars for a 5degree difference in a turn. someone has to get a backbone and say enough is enough.
 

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This is an interesting development and obviously something had to be done to lower the amount of litigation that the OFSC is involved in. I am not sure it is the best way to deal with it though.
I am curious about other jurisdictons such as Que. and Mich. How do they keep permit prices down? Especially in the US where people seem to sue at the drop of a hat? Anyone from elsewhere out there know how thier clubs are dealing with the insurance problem?
 

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Not directed at you Indy and thanx for the heads up.

I agree there has to be a better way to make the parasites stop suing the OFSC for their stupidity and carelessness. I would think hiring the best legal team would be cheaper than paying out these ridiculous sums of money. As a landowner who has trail running through the property for my whole life (in orillia) Im not sure the safety of other people on MY property is being insured, now its more like it is being sabatoged :( Be real safe riding at night on your way back and not know which way the trail goes :( The greenies would love everyone to ride at 50km the emissions coming from the sleds would be terrible at those speeds. I think the OFSC is causing themselves WAY more legal headaches. :( I almost wish I could get a refund for my Ontario trail permit, and I would just buy a Quebec permit. It is only 5hrs to St.Donant from here. Our local club (The Old Hastings Sno-Riders) really good with the signs. The whole system is a very well signed system. They always sign hazzards and corners., and if you come across one on the trail that isnt signed call them they will go out and put up the caution tape. That is what made the system so great the signs. What they are dooing will NOT slow people down it will cause more crashes and in turn cause more lawsuits. I feel that my safety and the safety of my fellow riders is now being compromised. Even the OPP and the STOP officers dont ride at 50km. A reality check needs to be done on the speed limit. Machines are faster but they are safer now too, ie. better breaking systems, better shocks, better skiis, better turning abilities. I think some really bad press for snowmobilers is going to come out of this ie. more statistics-deaths,injuries etc, giving the greenies more fuel for their fire. :cussing: :cussing: :( :angry: :cussing: :cussing: !!!


Rollo a Quebec trail pass is $180.00 CDN
 

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I think they are going backwards & not forwards. The Province seems to have a lot of control over things, so let them take over the trails. (I know be careful what you wish for) If you speed past a sign on run off the highway, can you sue the province? NO!! So the beloved Province should enact the same rules.

There is a segment of the sport that expect the trails to be pavement smooth 24/7 & signed like the 401. They are the ones that complain the loudest & the longest if things aren't up to snuff. I've been riding since '69 right now with the growth of the OFSC, it appears they are just spinning their wheels & putting out fires. I'd hate to see things go back to the way it was back in the 70s & early 80s.

Maybe w/ the high cost or inability of some owners of big cc sleds to get insurance, maybe there will be less clowns on the trails. The weekend warriors are the ones around Paudash we'd like to see less of. If any of these people try to ride w/o insurance, hopefully the OPP or STOP guys will stop them.

Indy, email me the info, OK?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Keep in mind the legal system changes from Province to Province as well does the insurance industry. The states have a totally different system , run by the goverment. As well I would suspect the laws are different too . It's like comparing apples to oranges .

I agree there are some clubs out there that do a spectacular job of signing their trails , not to blow my own horn or anything but our club has spent over $6000 in signs in the past 2 years ( plus the signs we already had ) for our 185 kms of trail . We have trail signage second to none . Our trail stakes have been all redone in the past 3 years as well as making almost 4000 more in the last 3 seasons ( thank god I painted them orange ) . Most have 2 reflectors on them , one being a very high intensity vinyl orange reflector that is far superior to any white reflector the OFSC will come up with . But back to our topic , there is a few clubs that don't have the finances to afford signs or the motivation to put them up . In all the riding I have done I have only found a hand full of places I thought the signage was really poor. The problem with most trail staking and signage is it's done by the same people year to year , he know's where he is , he know's that fence line is there ,he knows there is turn in the trail ahead ect. ect . These people never stop to look back and see the trail through the eyes of a tourist who has no clue where they are or what is coming up to and this is whats causing some of our problems. 10 years ago almost all riding was done locally , going up north was an extra special trip . Now I know people that go to cochrane for the weekend ( 12 hrs away ) . Tourism has grown so fast and so has our problems on the trails .
 
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