Whether you’re a Colorado native or one of the many welcome visitors our area draws each year, it’s never a bad idea to make sure you’re up to date on the safety regulations for any of our popular winter activities. In this post, we’ll be taking a look at the basics of snowmobile safety, as well as going over the laws that regulate their safe and legal operation.
All snowmobiles in Colorado that will be driven on public trails or land within the state will need to be registered with Colorado Parks and Wildlife. For residents, this requires a registration form and proof of ownership, along with an annual registration fee. Out of state visitors who bring their own snowmobiles to Colorado will need to acquire a temporary permit for their machine.
It is very important for anyone riding a snowmobile to be aware of the environmental conditions associated with potential avalanches, which can include significant temperature changes, a recent heavy snow and strong winds. It’s best practice to keep equipment like beacons, probes or shovels, which can be used in the event of an avalanche, with you at all times. Avalanche safety courses are also given throughout the year by Colorado Parks and Wildlife and other sources.
Colorado requires that snowmobiles in use must have the following features:
● A well maintained and functional muffler that is compliant with noise abatement standards.
● Brakes powerful enough to control the movement of, stop and hold the snowmobile under normal operational conditions.
● For snowmobiles to be driven between sunset and sunrise, they must be equipped with both a headlamp bright enough to cast visibility 100 feet ahead and a red tail lamp bright enough to be plainly visible from 500 feet behind in normal conditions.
Standard safety tips for snowmobile riding
This list of tips can help you stay safe on your snowmobile ride.
● Stay Current on Weather Conditions – Be aware of the ongoing weather conditions where you are to avoid dangerous situations. This includes both the immediate forecast as well as any recent weather that may have caused unsafe terrain.
● Dress Appropriately – Clothing should be protective and warm and should include a helmet with a face shield or goggles to protect your eyes from ice or debris.
● Don’t Go Alone – Riding alone can be very dangerous, particularly in unfamiliar terrain. Always ride with others.
● Ride at a Safe Speed – The head and tail lamps on snowmobiles are not made to provide adequate light at high speeds. Drive at recommended speeds only.
While this information may help you stay safe on your snowmobile ride, there are unfortunately still accidents that are caused by other riders who are not meeting the legal safety requirements. If you find yourself the victim of an injury caused in these circumstances, or due to the malfunction of your snowmobile that is the responsibility of the maker of that machine, contact us today to discuss the legal options you may have available to seek compensation.