Helmets mandatory for Whitehorse snowmobilers

Whitehorse city council passed a bylaw Monday night to make helmets mandatory for snowmobilers. Owners must also register and insure their machines.

New bylaws passed at city council also makes registration, insurance mandatory

Snowmobilers in Whitehorse now must wear helmets.

Whitehorse city council voted Monday night to pass a new, controversial bylaw. The rules also require owners to register and insure their machines.

The council had delayed the vote earlier this month to hear more public input.              

Monday night, resident Keith Lay spoke out, saying he thinks the bylaw lacks bite.

"Unfortunately, education will not work unless there is enforcement. If people know they can virtually ignore the law or bylaw then they will simply do it," he said.

Mayor Bev Buckway said in an ideal world, the city would have unlimited funds to hire extra bylaw officers. She said that’s not possible, but she added that the new bylaw is realistic.

"We have made more restrictions - certainly not enough for everybody, too much for some people – but I do believe we've got a bylaw that we will be able to live with," said Buckway.

Councillor Kirk Cameron said in the end, all councillors agreed that the bylaw has a good balance of interests.

The bylaw also encourages snowmobile education.

The council is also looking to establish a trail committee.