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Winter's quick onset doesn't mean ice is ready, say police

December 15, 2010 - Winter came upon Lake Orion quickly this year, but that doesn't mean the ice is ready for recreation just yet.

Ice safety depends on many factors, say Lake Orion police, not just ice thickness and temperature.

Know these rules before lacing up skates or tying on a lure:

- Ice thickness is measure by new, clear, solid ice; minimum standards for entry are four inches for foot traffic, five to six inches for snowmobiles and ATV's, and eight to 12 inches for cars or small trucks.

- There may be hidden areas of weak or thin ice near shore or by storm water drains and under bridges or where moving water is present.

- If a pet or other animal falls through the ice, do not risk death if it is unsafe to remove them. People that try to approach an animal in the water will usually fall through as well.

- Call 911 immediately if a person is in the water, as every moment matters. Almost anything can be thrown to rescue a person in the water: Jumper cables, a ladder, anything that will float enough to assist, or allow you pull them out from a safe position.

- Always wear a floatation vest when entering onto frozen water, or a newer model floatation snowmobile suit.

Wet winter clothing can add up to 60 lbs of weight.

- Avoid the excessive use of alcohol as a diminished reactive time could be fatal.

Police also want to remind everyone of the following laws and safety guidelines when operating a snowmobile on the frozen waters of Lake Orion, or any frozen water.

No Person Shall Operate a Snowmobile:

- On any village street or right-of-way, except for crossing the street or bridge

- Within 100 feet of a person, shanty, or cleared skating rink except at minimum speed to maintain forward momentum

- Within 100 feet of a dwelling between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. at a speed greater than the minimum required to maintain forward movement

- Under Bellevue Bridge and Park Island Bridge at a speed greater than the minimum required to maintain forward motion

- In a reckless or careless manner, or while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, narcotic drugs, or combination of both

- Unless equipped with a muffler in good working order to prevent unusual noise levels

- Without adequate face/vision protection

- Without a valid certificate of registration, and must be in possession of a valid driver license or safety certificate

- If under the age of 12, without direct parent and/or adult supervision

- Without a lighted headlight and lighted taillight during the hours from one half hour after sunset to one half hour before sunrise.

- To chase, pursue, worry or kill any wild bird or animal

- If your license to operate an automobile has been suspended or revoked by Michigan or your home state.

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