NEW YORK (WWTI) — The New York State Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation are urging snowmobilers to keep safety in mind this season.

As the snowmobiling season begins, riders are reminded to take exercise the appropriate safety measures when operating on trails and during any breaks will other riders. The state also reminded residents that an NYS Snowmobile Safety Certificate is required for youth between ages 10 and 18 to operate a snowmobile.

There are still over 100 courses available for not only younger riders but also adults who can benefit from the information to ensure the safety of both riders and other trail users. An online list of open classes can be found here.

State Park Police, State Troopers, Environmental Conservation Police Officers, Forest Rangers, and local enforcement agencies will be enforcing State Laws on snowmobile trails this year. This will include instances of unsafe or reckless operation, speed limits including the state’s maximum speed of 55 miles per hour, and operating while intoxicated.

The rules apply on all local and club trails, as well as the Statewide Trail System, which covers 45 counties. Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said it’s important that riders operate their snowmobiles safely to avoid accidents this season.

“Each year, snowmobile enthusiasts visit New York’s thousands of miles of trails statewide to enjoy this popular winter activity in the great outdoors. I join our partners at State Parks and the New York State Police in reminding riders to ride responsibly and safely by taking the proper precautions and never getting on a snowmobile impaired by alcohol or drugs,” Seggos said. “Even experienced riders can benefit from taking a snowmobile safety course to protect themselves and others, especially on remote, backcountry trails that are generally narrower than trails on private lands.”

Recommendations for safe riding include:

  • Prior to starting your ride, check over the snowmobile to make sure it is in good working order and carry emergency supplies.
  • Always wear a DOT- or SNELL-approved helmet and make sure to wear the proper snowmobile gear including bibs, jackets, boots, and gloves.
  • Always ride with a buddy or at least one other person.
  • Ride responsibly and within your abilities.
  • Always ride to the right side of the trail especially at hill crests and curves.
  • Operate at a speed which is safe and prudent for the given conditions.
  • Respect landowners, obey posted signs, and stay on the marked trail.
  • Frozen bodies of water are not designated trails. If planning to ride on ice, proceed with caution and be aware of potential hazards under the snow. Consider wearing a snowmobile suit with flotation built-in and carry a set of ice picks as a precaution.
  • Never drink alcohol or use drugs and ride.

More information on snowmobiling in New York can be found on the New York State website, and a Park Police snowmobile safety video is available here.