Secretary Land reminds operators to stay safe, obey the law
With winter here, Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land reminds snowmobilers that a safe riding season depends on proper training and abiding by state safety rules and regulations.
“With more than 6,000 miles of designated trails crisscrossing the Upper and Lower peninsulas, Michigan provides some of the best and most varied snowmobiling available,” Land said. “Safe riding involves more than just ensuring that your snowmobile is in good working order. Proper training and an understanding of the laws regarding this wonderful recreational activity are equally important in keeping you safe this winter.”
Safe snowmobiling includes the following:
*Don’t ride alone
*Keep headlights and tail lights on at all times
*Keep your snowmobile well maintained
*Wear appropriate clothing for the weather — always include a helmet, gloves and eye protection
*Always check the weather and leave a travel plan
*Avoid crossing frozen bodies of water when possible and never cross single file
*Be aware of fences, low-strung wire or depressions in the snow
*Do not ride on a street or highway
*Be cautious at intersections, stop and look carefully for traffic before proceeding
Land said that a snowmobile safety course is an excellent idea for all operators. Children ages 12-16 may operate a snowmobile if they have a valid snowmobile safety certificate with them or are under the direct supervision of an adult age 21 or older. Only those with a valid snowmobile certificate may legally drive across a street or highway.
Children younger than 12 must be under the direct supervision of an adult unless they are operating a snowmobile on property owned or controlled by a parent or legal guardian. They are not allowed to cross a highway or street.
Snowmobiles are registered by the Department of State. Operators must have the registration certificate with them when riding. The registration is the ownership document; snowmobiles are not titled. Registrations are issued for three years and should be renewed before Sept. 30 of the year shown on the registration decal. Decals are displayed on the forward half of the cowl above the foot well.
A snowmobile trail permit sticker is also required under Michigan law, with a few exceptions such as when riding solely on private property. Trail permits are issued for one year and are placed on the forward half of the snowmobile directly above or below the headlight. They are available from snowmobile dealers, Department of Natural Resources and Environment offices and retail license agents.
Snowmobile operators are reminded to never operate a snowmobile under the influence of drugs or alcohol or at speeds that are unreasonable for conditions. Residents whose driver’s license has been suspended or revoked may not legally operate a snowmobile.
Snowmobiles may operate on the right-of-way of public highways under certain situations. Traveling single file is permitted with the flow of traffic on the extreme right of the right-of-way. Driving on the roadway or shoulder is restricted to crossing bridges or culverts.
There are a number of other regulations regarding the speed, time of day, place and circumstances in which snowmobiles may safely and legally operate. This information is available on the DNRE Web site and snowmobile owners are encouraged to review it before riding.
For more information about snowmobile safety training, regulations and trail permits, visit the DNRE Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnre.
Nearly 87,000 snowmobile renewal notices were mailed by the Department of State this year. There are more than 347,000 snowmobile registrations on file, including original, renewed and expired certificates.
Additional information about registering snowmobiles is on the department’s Web site at www.Michigan.gov/sos.