Chest protectors can save lives

Erik Foster wants to bring awareness to the snowmobiling community about the importance of wearing a chest protector.

by Karen Kornelsen

Erik catching some air on the Saskatoon Snowmobile Club's trails, while wearing a chest protector for safety.
Erik catching some air on the Saskatoon Snowmobile Club's trails, while wearing a chest protector for safety. Photo courtesy of Erik Foster

Erik Foster is passionate about safety: in particular, the importance of wearing a chest protector. Chest protectors can save lives and Foster is on a mission to bring awareness to this important issue.

Foster is a volunteer firefighter in Saskatoon, vice president of Globe BMX Raceway, and sits on the board of directors for the Saskatoon Snowmobile Club.

“One of the biggest safety issues is protecting your body,” said Foster. “With everyone having high handlebar risers on their snowmobiles these days, two things are happening. When people crash, they can hit their chest off their bar, which can lead to extreme injuries or even death. Also, we’re seeing that if riders flip their sled, they are getting injuries to their ribs.”

Foster said the way to alleviate these issues is to always wear a chest protector. There are now many different brands and styles out there now which protect sledders’ ribs, the front of the body and back of the body.

“I’ve heard people say they don’t want to wear them because they’re too bulky or too hot,” said Foster. “It’s far from that. You can wear it over or under your suit and there’s no discomfort. It’s like how helmets used to be; people didn’t think they were that big of a deal and now everyone wears one. I hope the same will happen with chest protectors. People need to learn how important they are to their safety.”

Gear up for your sport

With a lot of riders now going off trail, proper gear is even more important. Sledders don’t know what’s underneath the snow and a chest protector could save their life. It's the same with bush riding: a chest protector can safeguard a sledder from a branch going through a suit and into a body.

Foster does a lot of riding with his wife and two young kids, and all four of them wear chest protectors. Not only that, but they replace their helmets after two years, and also replace the visor on a helmet if it gets scratched—so visibility is always perfect. In addition, Foster wants to reinforce to parents that the front of their sled is no place for a small child. It can be very dangerous.

Because Foster feels so strongly about the importance of chest protectors, he approached a local company called FFun Motor Sports in Saskatoon. This year, they will be carrying a wide variety of chest protectors.

“I’m passionate about how important they are,” said Foster. “With a local business like FFun bringing them in, I hope more people will hear about them and how chest protectors can better the sport of snowmobiling in regards to safety.”

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