FISH AND GAME
215-C:8 Operation of Snowmobiles.
I. It is unlawful to operate any snowmobile during the period from 1/2 hour after sunset to 1/2 hour before sunrise without displaying at least one lighted headlight and one lighted taillight.
I-a. (a) The driver of any snowmobile upon approaching, overtaking, or while following within a distance of approximately 150 feet of another vehicle or snowmobile during the period from 1/2 hour after sunset to 1/2 hour before sunrise shall dim all original equipped lights. The driver of any snowmobile upon approaching, overtaking, or while following another vehicle or snowmobile shall extinguish all aftermarket additional lighting at all times of the day or night.
(b) Additional aftermarket lighting shall be extinguished while operating upon any public way. Winter operation on public water shall be exempt from this provision, however, additional lighting shall be extinguished when meeting or overtaking other vehicles.
(c) No person other than a sworn law enforcement officer with powers of arrest shall operate a snowmobile equipped with blue colored lights. Blue colored lights shall only be used on snowmobiles owned or leased by state, county, municipal, or federal agencies.
(d) No person other than a sworn law enforcement officer with powers of arrest or an emergency response employee or volunteer of a city, town, state, or the federal government or an employee of a private ambulance service contracted with a city or town shall operate a snowmobile equipped with red colored lights.
II. No person shall operate a snowmobile upon any portion of the right of way of any public way including the traveled portion of a maintained public way except as provided in this chapter.
III. (a) No person shall operate a snowmobile at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the existing conditions and without regard for actual and potential hazards. In all cases speed shall be controlled so that the operator will be able to avoid colliding with any person, vehicle, or object.
(b) Where no hazards exist which would require a lower speed to comply with subparagraph (a), the speed of any snowmobile in excess of the limit specified in this section shall be prima facie evidence that the speed is not reasonable or prudent and that it is unlawful:
(1) 10 miles per hour within 150 feet of any so-called bob-house, fishing shanty, or occupied fishing hole of another.
(2) 20 miles per hour on class I through VI highways when the snowmobile is being operated within the rights-of-way adjacent to such highways; class IV, V, and VI highways approved for snowmobile operation; and bridges open for snowmobile operation.
(3) 10 miles per hour at trail junctions or parking lots, when passing trail grooming equipment, or on town or city sidewalks.
(4) 20 miles per hour on plowed roads on department of natural and cultural resources property open to snowmobile operation.
(5) 35 miles per hour on all trail connectors.
(6) 45 miles per hour when operating a snowmobile on any approved snowmobile trail.
(c) The prima facie speed limits set forth in subparagraph (b) may be altered for a specific hazard.
(d) The driver of every snowmobile shall, consistent with the requirements of subparagraph (a), drive at an appropriate reduced speed when approaching and crossing an intersection or railway grade crossing, when approaching and going around a curve, when approaching a hillcrest, when traveling upon any narrow or winding trail, and when a special hazard exists with respect to pedestrians or other traffic by reason of weather or trail conditions.
IV. It is unlawful to operate any snowmobile so as to endanger any person or damage any property.
V. When meeting, the operators of snowmobiles or OHRVs shall reasonably turn to the right and reduce speed to avoid collision.
VI. No person shall operate a snowmobile within the limits of any railroad right of way where the rails are still intact unless otherwise posted, except in any emergency pursuant to the provisions of RSA 215-C:9, VI; provided, however, a snowmobile may be driven upon the right of way of any railroad for a crossing of the tracks at their intersection with an authorized trail, road, or highway where a snowmobile is not otherwise prohibited. Any person violating the provisions of this paragraph shall be guilty of a violation for the first offense and shall be guilty of a misdemeanor for any subsequent offense.
VII. No person shall operate a snowmobile upon any airport runway or landing field, or within cemeteries, except in an emergency pursuant to the provisions of RSA 215-C:9, VI. Any person violating the provisions of this paragraph shall be guilty of a violation for the first offense and shall be guilty of a misdemeanor for any subsequent offense.
VIII. No person shall operate a snowmobile on the right of way of any public way classified as a class I highway and designated as an interstate highway, toll road, or limited access highway.
IX. Pursuant to RSA 215-C:31, city or town councils and boards of selectmen may authorize the use of sidewalks and class IV, class V, or class VI highways and bridges, or portions thereof, for use by snowmobiles. The operation of snowmobiles may also be allowed on sidewalks adjacent to class I, II, III, or III-a highways pursuant to RSA 236:56, II(e). Operators of snowmobiles using said roads, or portions thereof, shall keep to the extreme right and shall yield to all conventional motor vehicle traffic. The bureau, or its designee, shall so post such highways where authorized. Following a duly noticed public hearing, except in the case of an emergency closure, such city or town authorities may change the allowable usage of a class IV, class V, or class VI highway by snowmobiles by giving notification to the supervisor of the bureau and removing any signs that no longer apply.
X. A person may operate a snowmobile across any public way where the operation of said snowmobile is not otherwise prohibited by law, but said person shall comply with the following provisions:
(a) The crossing shall be made at an angle of approximately 90 degrees to the direction of the public way and at a place where no obstruction prevents a quick and safe crossing;
(b) The operator shall bring the snowmobile to a complete stop before crossing the shoulder or, if none, the public way, before proceeding;
(c) The operator shall yield the right of way to all motor vehicle traffic on such public way which constitutes an immediate hazard to such crossing; and
(d) The operator shall possess a valid motor vehicle driver's license or shall have successfully completed the approved snowmobile or OHRV safety training course.
XI. No person shall operate a snowmobile on the traveled portion of any public way classified as a class I, class II, class III, class III-a, class IV, class V, or class VI highway, where said highway is maintained for winter use by conventional motor vehicles, except as specifically provided in paragraphs IX and X, and in accordance with paragraph XII.
XII. In those instances where a municipality does not maintain a class IV, class V, or class VI highway for winter use by conventional motor vehicles, the city or town council or board of selectmen may authorize the use of such a highway by snowmobiles; or, alternatively, it may authorize dual use of such highway by snowmobiles and by those conventional highway vehicles that are being used solely for access to property abutting such highway. Vehicles of any type being used for law enforcement, firefighting, rescue, and road maintenance shall have unrestricted access to such highways in either case. The bureau or its designee shall post said highways in accordance with the status established by municipal authorities as provided in this paragraph. Following a duly noticed public hearing, except in the case of an emergency closure, such authorities may change the status of a highway by giving notification to the supervisor of the bureau and removing any signs that no longer apply.
XIII. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a snowmobile may be operated within the right-of-way of a public way across a bridge when operated in accordance with a permit issued by the commissioner of public works and highways pursuant to RSA 215-C:2, IX.
Source. 2005, 210:1, eff. July 1, 2006. 2014, 283:2, eff. July 28, 2014. 2017, 156:14, I, eff. July 1, 2017. 2019, 216:10, eff. Sept. 10, 2019.