FISH AND GAME
215-C:49 Snowmobile Operation and License.
I. No person shall operate a snowmobile on land not owned or leased by such person or such person's parent, grandparent, or guardian unless such person:
(a) If under 14 years of age, is accompanied at all times by a person at least 18 years of age who has met the conditions of subparagraph (b); and
(b) If 12 years of age or older, has either:
(1) Successfully completed the snowmobile or OHRV training program, the recognition of which has not been suspended or otherwise disallowed by law; or
(2) Is licensed to drive a vehicle in accordance with RSA 263, or in accordance with the law of another state or a province of Canada, provided the person would be eligible for a driver's license in this state.
II. (a) Except as further specified in subparagraph (b), it shall be prima facie evidence that any person at least 18 years of age who travels with a person under 14 years of age shall be legally responsible for the snowmobile operation of such person and shall be liable according to law for personal injury or property damage to others which may result from such person's operation.
(b) When more than one person at least 18 years of age is traveling with a person under 14 years of age, and if any of the following persons over 18 years of age are present, then only such persons shall be legally responsible and liable under this paragraph:
(1) Parents or guardians, or
(2) Any person who has otherwise been given or assumed the responsibility for supervising the person under 14 years of age at the time of snowmobile operation.
(c) Any person legally responsible and liable under this paragraph shall accompany the person under 14 years of age at all times of snowmobile operation.
(d) Except as provided in RSA 215-C:50, IV, an organizer of an event or contest shall be responsible for ensuring that each participant under 14 years of age is accompanied at all times.
III. A person 12 years of age or older operating a snowmobile shall carry evidence of compliance with subparagraph I(b) or RSA 215-A:29, I(b) in the form of a valid driver's license or evidence of successfully completing a snowmobile or OHRV training program. The person shall present such evidence to any law enforcement officer who is empowered to enforce this chapter, upon demand of such law enforcement officer.
IV. The provisions of paragraphs I and III shall not apply to any person participating in a snowmobile training program. The provisions of paragraph II shall not apply to any person teaching a snowmobile training program.
V. The owner of a snowmobile shall not permit the snowmobile to be operated contrary to this section.
VI. The executive director of the fish and game department may suspend a person's snowmobile or OHRV training program certificate or the department's recognition of a person's completion of a snowmobile training program if not administered or sponsored by the department, in accordance with rules adopted under RSA 541-A, for violating any provision or rule of this chapter. The terms of such suspension shall be determined by the executive director.
VII. Snowmobile or OHRV training programs shall be established within the snowmobile budget of the New Hampshire fish and game department as referred to in RSA 215-C:39, IX. The department shall issue a certificate to any person successfully completing a snowmobile training program administered or sponsored by the department. At the discretion of the executive director, training programs for snowmobiles and for OHRVs may be combined.
VIII. If a parent or guardian knowingly or negligently permits any person under the age of 18 to operate a snowmobile, in accordance with RSA 626:8, II(b), said parent or guardian shall be held criminally liable and fully accountable for any damage incurred or for any violations of this chapter which may be committed by the person under the age of 18. If a person under the age of 18 has completed an approved snowmobile or OHRV safety training course, such evidence may be used in mitigation of damages.
IX. If an owner of a snowmobile permits any person under the age of 18 to operate the owner's snowmobile, in accordance with RSA 626:8, II(b), said owner may be held criminally liable and fully accountable for any damage incurred or for any violations of this chapter which may be committed by the person under the age of 18. If a person under the age of 18 has completed an approved snowmobile or OHRV safety training course, such evidence may be used in mitigation of damages.
X. A person registered as owner of a snowmobile may be fined not less than $50 or more than $500 if a snowmobile bearing his or her registration number is operated contrary to the provisions of this chapter. The registered owner may not be so fined if:
(a) The snowmobile was reported as stolen to a law enforcement agency at the time of the alleged unlawful act;
(b) The registered owner demonstrates that the snowmobile either was stolen or was not in use at the time of the alleged unlawful act; or
(c) The registered owner furnishes to law enforcement officers upon request the identity of the person in actual physical control of the snowmobile at the time of such violation.
XI. The provisions of paragraph X do not apply to any person who rents or leases a snowmobile if such person keeps a record of the name and address of the person or persons renting or leasing such snowmobile, the registration number thereof, the departure date and time, and expected time of return thereof and furnishes such information to law enforcement officers upon request. Such record shall be preserved for at least 6 months and shall be prima facie evidence that the person named therein was the operator of the snowmobile at the time it was operated contrary to the provisions of this chapter.
XII. Any person operating a snowmobile shall yield the right of way to any person on horseback, foot, skis, snowshoes or other mode of travel on foot; provided, however, that such persons traveling do not unreasonably obstruct or delay snowmobiles on the trail.
XII-a. A person operating a snowmobile approaching a trail intersection marked with a stop sign shall stop before entering the intersection or at a point nearest the intersecting trail where the operator has a view of approaching vehicles on the intersecting trail before entering the intersection.
XIII. No person shall operate a snowmobile on the property of another unless such operator has obtained written permission from the landowner except as follows:
(a) Verbal permission given to a snowmobile club or to the chief of the bureau of trails shall be adequate for operating a snowmobile on trails established by organized snowmobile clubs or on trails designated as snowmobile trails by the chief of the bureau of trails. A list and description of such designated snowmobile trails shall be maintained by the chief of the bureau of trails, and such list shall be available to the public upon request. Individuals operating snowmobiles on such trails shall not be required to obtain specific landowner permission.
(b) Individuals operating snowmobiles on trails designated under subparagraph (a) shall operate solely on trails as permitted by the landowner. Any individual who operates a snowmobile off the trail shall obtain written landowner permission.
XIV. Verbal or written permission given by a landowner to a snowmobile club, the chief of the bureau of trails, or an individual to permit snowmobile operation on trails on his or her property shall in no way be construed as granting a lien or an irrevocable right to operate snowmobiles on said property.
XV. If a landowner has not given verbal or written permission to a snowmobile club, the chief of the bureau of trails, or an individual, to permit snowmobile operation on trails on the landowner's property, a snowmobile user shall not acquire prescriptive rights to the landowner's property by such adverse use, nor shall such adverse use mature into a prescriptive right.
XVI. No snowmobile shall be operated above a height of 4,000 feet above sea level except upon existing roads and trails as designated by the bureau.
XVII. No person shall operate a snowmobile in any manner so as to harass animals pursuant to the provisions of the definition of "take or taking" in RSA 207:1.
XVIII. The provisions of this section do not prohibit or limit the prosecution of a snowmobile operator for violating any of the paragraphs referred to in this section.
XIX. No person under the age of 18 shall operate any snowmobile within this state without wearing eye protection and protective headgear which meets or exceeds the specifications of FMVSS 218.
XX. No person shall operate any snowmobile within this state carrying passengers under the age of 18 unless each such passenger is wearing eye protection and protective headgear which meets or exceeds the specifications of FMVSS 218.
XXI. (a) No person shall operate a snowmobile if such person's driver's license has been suspended or revoked by the director of motor vehicles or by the authority of another state or any province of Canada.
(b) Any person who violates this section by operating a snowmobile in this state during the period of suspension or revocation of such person's license or driving privilege for a violation of RSA 265:79, RSA 265-A:2, I, RSA 265-A:3, and RSA 630:3, II or an equivalent offense in another jurisdiction shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be sentenced in accordance with RSA 263:64, IV.
Source. 2005, 210:1. 2006, 90:10. 2008, 345:4. 2009, 176:4, eff. Sept. 11, 2009. 2012, 77:2, eff. Jan. 1, 2013.