Are Snowmobiles Street Legal? State By State Requirements


As someone who loves snowmobiling, you may be wondering whether you can legally operate your snowmobile on the street. If you read through this article, you will discover whether snowmobiles are street legal or illegal in your state. If you live in the U.S., you will definitely find your state in this article.

Requirements of Each State in the U.S.

Here are the requirements of each state in the U.S.:

Alabama

It’s against the law to operate a snowmobile on public streets in Alabama. If anyone is caught riding a snowmobile on the street, such a person will be fined.

https://alabama.gov

Alaska

It’s unlawful to operate snowmobiles on public streets. However, you can cross a street at an angle of approximately 90 degrees if such a street leads to an area designated for the operation of snowmobiles.

https://www.alaska.gov

Arizona

You can ride a snowmobile on the street after you make it fit for the street. To make your snowmobile fit for the street, you must register it for street use and add all the needed equipment to it. The equipment that you must add to it includes the rearview mirror, horn, and brake light.

Also, you must possess a driver’s license and obey all the traffic rules that apply to passenger vehicles. Once you have done all the necessary things and possess a license, you can ride your snowmobile on the streets.

https://az.gov

Arkansas

While the state forbids the operation of snowmobiles on the street, the state permits you to use snowmobiles on the street If you need to cross it on your way to a private property or a public snowmobile trail. At such a time, you must cross the street at an angle of approximately 90 degrees.

https://portal.arkansas.gov

California

The state prohibits the operation of snowmobiles on almost all the public streets in California. There are only very few streets where some local authorities designate for snowmobile operation. You can cross any street at an angle of approximately 90 degrees if such street links to your private property or public trails where snowmobile operation is legal.

https://www.ca.gov

Colorado

You can operate your snowmobile on the street under the following conditions:

— To cross the street at an angle of approximately 90 degrees;

— On streets that lack maintenance for automotive vehicles in the winter;

— To traverse a culvert or a bridge on the street;

— At a time when the proper state authority declares emergency conditions and a snowmobile is the means of transportation available to you.

Law enforcement officer can fine you if you operate your snowmobile on the street when none of the conditions above is in place.

https://www.colorado.gov

Connecticut

Connecticut forbids snowmobile operation on the streets. The only condition where you can legally operate on a public street is if you need to cross it at an angle of approximately 90 degrees. Aside from this condition, you don’t have any right to ride on any street.

https://portal.ct.gov

Delaware

It’s against the law to operate a snowmobile on public streets in Delaware. If you are caught operating a snowmobile on the road, you will pay a large fine.

https://delaware.gov

Florida

You can ride a snowmobile on some streets in Florida. Usually, the streets where you can ride are the unpaved ones. However, you should note that it’s not all unpaved streets that snowmobile riding is permitted.

https://www.myflorida.com

Georgia

The state does not allow anyone to ride snowmobiles on public streets in Georgia.

https://georgia.gov

Hawaii

The state forbids the operation of snowmobiles on the streets. However, there are few conditions that permit people to legally ride a snowmobile on the streets. Here are the few conditions where snowmobile becomes street legal:

— If you ride a snowmobile on the street with only one lane or at most two lanes and the speed limit for such street is not greater than 35 miles per hour;

— If you are a state official who is operating the snowmobile in the course of your official duty.

https://portal.ehawaii.gov

Idaho

Idaho permits the operation of snowmobiles on almost all public streets. The few streets where the law forbids snowmobile operation are the ones that lead directly to state or federal highways. Snowmobile operations on those kinds of streets might hinder the free flow of traffic in those areas, which is why they are prohibited.

https://www.idaho.gov

Illinois

Illinois does not permit the operation of snowmobiles on public streets. However, you may cross any street at an angle of approximately 90 degrees while moving towards any approved trail or private property.

https://www2.illinois.gov

Indiana

While the general law in Indiana forbids the operation of snowmobiles on public streets, some local authorities allow snowmobilers to operate on public streets. Generally, you can cross any public street at an angle of approximately 90 degrees, but you’ll have to verify the local law in the area before you ride along such a street.

https://www.in.gov/core/

Iowa

You can ride snowmobiles on public streets that the state hasn’t plowed during the winter or any street that the local authorities have designated for the operation of snowmobiles. Generally, once a street is not used for conventional motor vehicles during the winter, such a road is open for snowmobilers to ride.

https://www.iowa.gov

Kansas

Some streets in Kansas are open to snowmobilers. Most of the streets where you can ride snowmobiles are the ones within areas with low population density. Kindly note that you are permitted to ride on the street only during the day, and you must have a license.

https://portal.kansas.gov

Kentucky

You may only cross a street at an approximately 90-degree angle, but you must not ride parallel to any street. If the law enforcement officers catch you riding along any street, they can fine you or tow your snowmobile.

https://kentucky.gov/Pages/home.aspx

Louisiana

Generally, snowmobilers are prohibited from riding on public streets, but there are a few areas in Louisiana where snowmobiles are street legal. Before snowmobilers can ride on any street open to them, they must equip their snowmobile with brake light, rearview mirror, horn, and reflectors.

https://www.louisiana.gov

Maine

You can operate a snowmobile on a public street under certain circumstances. Here are the circumstances where snowmobile becomes street legal:

— You can ride a registered snowmobile on the extreme right of the street only for the purpose of crossing. However, you must not exceed a distance of 500 yards before you cross the street as directly as possible.

— You can operate a snowmobile on a public street when such a street is closed or not maintained during the winter.

— You can operate a snowmobile on a public street if the police declare an emergency at a time that the conventional motor vehicles can’t move along the street.

— You may operate a snowmobile on the street in a special snowmobile event that the appropriate governmental unit has approved to take place for a limited duration.

https://www.maine.gov/portal/index.html

Maryland

The law prohibits the operation of snowmobiles on all streets. Whether a street is maintained during the snow season or not, you must not ride a snowmobile on it.

https://www.maryland.gov/Pages/default.aspx

Massachusetts

You can’t ride a snowmobile on a public street, but you can travel parallel to or adjacent any street for a short distance if you are heading towards a trail that connects to such a street.

https://www.mass.gov

Michigan

You can ride a snowmobile on all unplowed streets during the snow season. However, you must ride only at a moderate speed level.

https://www.michigan.gov/som/

Minnesota

You are not allowed to operate a snowmobile on the street except if you need to cross the street on your way to a trail.

https://mn.gov/portal/

Mississippi

The right to legally operate a snowmobile on the street is controlled mainly by the local authority. Therefore, a snowmobile can be street legal in some areas and illegal in other areas just a few kilometers away.

https://www.ms.gov/home

Missouri

Generally, it’s illegal to operate a snowmobile in Missouri. However, local regulations can give people the right to operate a snowmobile on certain streets.

https://www.mo.gov

Montana

You can ride a snowmobile on the street under the circumstances below.

— When snow covers the street to the extent that motor vehicle becomes inoperable on such street.

— If the local government permits people to ride on the street even though it’s plowed.

You can cross all streets at an angle of approximately 90 degrees.

https://mt.gov

Nebraska

You can operate your snowmobile on public streets, but you must equip it with certain things before you start riding it on the street. The things that your snowmobile must have include a headlight, taillight, brakes, and reflector material affixed to the two sides forward of the handlebars.

Your snowmobile must not include after-market parts, which modifies its performance, and you must agree to travel at a speed not greater than 30 miles per hour.

Also, you may cross any public street at an angle of approximately 90 degrees at a location where any obstruction won’t hinder you from crossing quickly.

https://www.nebraska.gov

Nevada

The law prohibits the operation of a snowmobile on any public street except when it’s very necessary to cross a street at an angle of approximately 90 degrees.

https://nv.gov

New Hampshire

All public streets are not open to snowmobilers unless if the local authority declares some specific streets open to snowmobilers. Any street that is declared open will be posted.

https://www.nh.gov/index.htm

New Jersey

The state forbids the use of snowmobile on all streets. If any law enforcement officer catches you riding on any street, you will be fined heavily.

https://nj.gov

New Mexico

Although the state prohibits the operation of snowmobiles on public streets, there are few locations where snowmobiles are street legal. You may cross any street at an approximate angle of 90 degrees if the street connects you to a public trail or a private property.

https://www.newmexico.gov

New York

While the general rule in New York forbids the operation of snowmobiles on the street, some towns and areas in New York allow people to ride a snowmobile on the street. For instance, almost all the streets in the town of Webb are open to snowmobilers in the winter.

In all parts of New York, you are free to cross any street as long as you do so at an angle of approximately 90 degrees.

https://www.ny.gov

North Carolina

You can’t operate snowmobiles on any street in North Carolina. However, you are permitted to cross streets at an angle of approximately 90 degrees.

https://www.nc.gov

North Dakota

No person may ride a snowmobile on the street unless if the person intends to cross the street. You can only cross the non-interstate streets. Any snowmobile that doesn’t have either a headlamp or a taillamp is prohibited from crossing any street. If you need to cross a street with the right kind of snowmobile, you must do so at an angle of approximately 90 degrees.

https://www.nd.gov

Ohio

In Ohio, only the local authorities decide the streets where snowmobile operations are legal. However, you have the right to cross any street at 90 degrees angle.

https://ohio.gov

Oklahoma

Snowmobiles are generally not street legal in Oklahoma, but in a few circumstances, snowmobiles become street legal. Here are the circumstances where snowmobiles are street legal:

— When the street is located in an unincorporated area, and the speed limit for such a street does not exceed 25 miles per hour.

— When a street is within an area where the local authority has approved the operation of snowmobiles.

Kindly note that you are free to cross all public streets at an angle of approximately 90 degrees.

https://www.ok.gov

Oregon

The state forbids the use of snowmobile on all public streets. However, you may cross a street at an angle of approximately 90 degrees at a location where no obstruction will hinder a quick crossing.

https://www.oregon.gov/Pages/index.aspx

Pennsylvania

You may operate your snowmobile on a street when it’s necessary to cross such a street at an angle of approximately 90 degrees. You may also ride on any street that the governmental agency having jurisdiction has declared opened to snowmobilers.

It’s legal to operate a snowmobile on a public street when the governmental agency having jurisdiction has declared an emergency. Also, you can legally ride on the street for any special event that the governmental agency having jurisdiction has permitted to take place for a limited time.

https://www.pa.gov

Rhode Island

It’s against the law to operate a snowmobile on the street. The only exception is that the law permits snowmobilers to cross a street at an angle of approximately 90 degrees.

https://www.ri.gov

South Carolina

The state prohibits the operation of snowmobiles on all streets. Anyone who goes against the law to ride a snowmobile on the street will be fined.

https://sc.gov

South Dakota

You can ride a snowmobile on streets that are not plowed during the snow season, but you must not exceed the posted speed limit. You may ride only in the daytime. Also, you can cross both plowed and unplowed streets at an angle of approximately 90 degrees.

https://sd.gov

Tennessee

You may ride a snowmobile on the street if specifications are met. Before you can ride on the street, your snowmobile must have a horn, taillights, headlights, taillights, and brake light.

https://www.tn.gov

Texas

Snowmobiles are not street legal in Texas.

https://www.texas.gov

Utah

You may only cross a street at an angle of approximately 90 degrees. Local authorities may designate certain streets as open to snowmobilers. When they do so, you have the right to ride on such streets.

https://www.utah.gov

Vermont

You may ride only on streets that are designated for snowmobile operation. Also, you can cross any street at an angle of approximately 90 degrees if such a street connects you to public trails or private property.

https://www.vermont.gov

Virginia

It is unlawful for you to operate a snowmobile on a public street. Notwithstanding, you may operate a snowmobile on the street during an emergency at a location where a motor vehicle is impractical. Also, you may cross all streets at an angle of approximately 90 degrees.

https://www.virginia.gov

Washington

Public streets are not open to snowmobilers. However, snowmobilers may cross the street at an angle of approximately 90 degrees when it is necessary.

https://access.wa.gov

West Virginia

Snowmobiles are not allowed on public streets. However, you may cross any street as directly possible at a location where no barrier will hinder you from crossing very quickly.

https://www.wv.gov/Pages/default.aspx

Wisconsin

Villages, towns, or cities may designate certain streets for snowmobiling. When the authority designates any street for snowmobiling, you may operate only on the right side of the street. Also, you may legally cross any street at an angle of approximately 90 degrees.

https://www.wisconsin.gov/Pages/Home.aspx

Wyoming

Snowmobiles are street legal in Wyoming. However, you can’t ride your snowmobile if you haven’t registered it. While you are riding along the street, you must watch out for speed limits and abide by the limit for each street.

http://www.wyo.gov

Snowmobile Street Safety

Your safety and the safety of everyone around you should be your topmost priority while you are riding a snowmobile along the street. Since it is common to find many pedestrians along almost all streets, it is necessary for you to ride even more carefully than you often do on public trails.

We shall mention some things that you should do to keep everyone safe while you are riding a snowmobile on a public street.

Take a snowmobile safety course

Even if your state does not require a snowmobile safety course, it will help if you take it before you start riding on the street. A safety course will teach you how to ride responsibly and safely. You will discover some common hazards and the ways you can avoid those hazards. A snowmobile safety course requires only a few months to complete, so you shouldn’t let time be a factor to discourage you from learning.

Ensure Your Snowmobile Is in Good Working Condition

Some accidents occur as a result of bad vehicles. Before you start riding, you should check things such as the brakes, handlebars, drive belt, fuel level, oil level, skis, and other essential parts.

Occasionally, you should take your snowmobile to qualified personnel for servicing even if it doesn’t appear to be faulty. These practices can save you from several mishaps.

Stay Alert On the Road

Any vehicle or person may run onto the street at any moment, so must stay alert and get ready to use your brakes at any moment. Don’t just focus on near places. Instead, you should focus more on far places so that you can spot any vehicle or person before you even come too close.  Ensure you are not using your mobile phone or any other device so that your attention won’t be divided.

Do Not Speed

If you speed excessively, you won’t have much chance to avert some dangers even though you see them early enough. Always move at a moderate speed so that you can have enough time to avoid any possible danger.

Don’t Drink Alcohol Before You Ride

Alcohol will affect your ability to ride in several ways. Alcohol will reduce your vision and concentration. Even when you perceive anything on the street, your responses will be delayed while you are under the influence of alcohol.

Heavy drinking will impair your hand and foot coordination and inhibit your judgment.  Hardly can anyone ride a snowmobile under these kinds of conditions, so you must never take alcohol before you ride on the street.

Don’t Overload Your Snowmobile

Every snowmobile has an approved weight it can carry. If you exceed the weight the manufacturer approves, the snowmobile will become very difficult to control, or the brakes may fail when you try to apply it. This can lead to a mishap, so it’s better to avoid putting too much load on your snowmobile in the first place.

What Should I Wear While Riding on the Street?

Although the street may not be as cold as the trails along the woods, you still need to wear materials that protect you from cold. We recommend that you wear lightweight under layers, high-quality mid-layers, and outer layers. Use a helmet even if the state doesn’t mandate it.

Use water-resistant gloves so that you can grip the snowmobile’s handle properly. Wear boots and safety glasses.

Can I Ride a Snowmobile on a Bare Street?

The snow across public streets may not be uniform enough to let you ride all through on snow. For some reasons, it’s advisable to avoid riding on surfaces that don’t have enough snow. Let’s mention a few reasons why it’s wrong to ride on a street with little snow cover.

Your snowmobile needs enough snow to cool its engine. If you ride on a surface where your snowmobile’s track is unable to kick up enough snow, the heat exchanger won’t receive the snow needed to cool it down. This can lead to overheating of the engine. So before you ride on any street, make sure it has enough snow on almost all its surfaces.

Another reason why you shouldn’t ride your snowmobile on the streets without adequate snow cover is that the ski will wear out quickly. The friction between the bare surface of the street and the ski will wear the ski rapidly.

Inadequate lubrication is another problem associated with little snow cover. The nylon runners on which the track slides are lubricated with snow. If you ride on a street without enough snow, the nylon runners will wear out faster as a result of friction.

In essence, you should ride only on streets fully covered with snow. However, if it becomes very necessary to travel across any street with moderate snow, always move on the sides where you can notice some snows and don’t speed.

Can I Ride on the Street at Night?

All the states in the U.S know the dangers associated with the operation of a snowmobile on the streets at night. Since most snowmobiles have only one taillight and one headlight, other drivers and riders may easily mistake them for motorcycle’s lights and hence make an improper judgment on the distance to maintain away from them.

Also, a snowmobile’s light can easily get lost in the rearview mirrors, making it hard to detect a nearby snowmobile. Due to these reasons and several other ones, all the states in the U.S forbid people from riding snowmobiles at night.

What Should I Do If My Snowmobile Suddenly Breaks down on the Street?

If your snowmobile suddenly stops in the middle of a street, you must move it to the extreme right of the street immediately. Attempt to start the engine and observe whether the engine stopped as a result of one minor issue. If it starts, you should allow it to run for a few minutes before you start riding again.

If the engine fails to start, you mustn’t attempt to repair it right there. Instead, you should locate the closest exit and move your snowmobile to a safe location where you can inspect it for faults or call qualified person to repair it for you.

Rob

That's me sinking another ATV. I love to ride no matter what it is, snowmobiles, four wheelers, dirt bikes, and anything else off-roading. I've experienced my fair share of machines, and like to share that experience here.

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