Future of tobogganing looking downhill

Caraquet — After agreeing to go tobogganing with his friends, Tyler Daigle, 10, thought he was in for a typical day of fun in in the snow. He could not have been more wrong. Daigle and 2 of his friends were hospitalized this afternoon after their Toboggan slid off course and crashed into a tree.

The 2 passengers were released from hospital relatively unscathed, but Daigle, who was driving the vehicle, was badly injured. Medical reports say that his nose bled and his tooth kind of hurts. There was no alcohol in his system.

“My papa said the heaviest kid should sit in the front to keep the toboggan straight,” explained young Daigle, “but we didn’t want to hurt Kevin’s feelings, so we let him take the middle. I wish I listened to my Papa.”

Photo by Ian Coburn

Photo by Ian Coburn

This is the 2nd reported toboggan accident in New Brunswick this season, prompting some parents to react.

“Two accidents? Too many!” is the slogan of PAT, or Parents Against Tobogganing, a newly formed campaign against the deadly snow vehicle. PAT is petitioning for new legislature on toboggans, namely, to end the sale, possession and use of toboggans and toboggan-related paraphernalia.

Theresa Daigle, Tyler’s mother, is spearheading the petition. “Did you know that the number of toboggan accidents this year has already doubled that of last year? This means that toboggans have already killed more people than former premier David Alward,” she said. “If this trend continues, toboggans could very well pass smoking as the leading cause of death in New Brunswick.”

Since toboggan accidents are the highest they’ve been in 57 years, Premier Brian Gallant is taking PAT very seriously. He issued a statement to PAT saying, “I want you to know that the Liberal government is taking you very seriously. Moving forward, we will seriously consider what you said, and move forward from a position of seriousness.”

Despite Gallant’s reassuring word, PAT is meeting its fair of share opponents.

“I’m sick and tired of these parent groups, trying to tell me what I can and can’t do,” said Peter Brewer of Miramichi. “First they took my 3-wheeler away. Now they wanna take my toboggan too?”

“Are we actually having this conversation?” commented Sandra Frasier of Bathurst.

In response to the criticism, PAT stated, “We have come to understand that toboggans are weapons on ice, and so we will not listen to any criticism whatsoever, no matter how reasonable it sounds. We will get a total ban on toboggans.”

The group added, “But we also understand that kids need to have fun, so we’ve decided to suggest some alternatives to tobogganing. For example, you could go for a nice winter stroll — staying on the sidewalk of course. You could also wait for your parents by the car, open the window a crack, or watch figure skating on TV — there are tons of winter activities for kids these days. They just have to remember that it’s never too nice a day to stay inside.”