No person may operate a snowmobile upon any part of any freeway which is a part of the federal system of interstate and defense highways. No person may operate a snowmobile upon any part of any other freeway unless the department of transportation authorizes snowmobile use on that freeway.
No person may operate a snowmobile on any highway except in the following manner or as otherwise authorized by law:
Directly across any roadway having fewer than 5 lanes, but only after stopping and yielding the right-of-way to all vehicles approaching on the roadway. Crossings under this subdivision may be made only at a place where no obstruction prevents a quick and safe crossing. For purposes of this subdivision, "obstruction" includes but is not limited to impairment of view and dangerous roadway condition.
Directly across a roadway having 5 lanes, in the manner specified in subd. 1.
, but only if the department of transportation authorizes such a crossing.
On any roadway which is not normally maintained for other vehicular traffic by the removal of snow.
On the roadway of highways to cross a bridge, culvert or railroad right-of-way unless posted by the maintaining authority, but shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicular traffic.
On the roadway of county or town highways and city or village streets for special snowmobile events authorized under s. 350.04
On highways which have been designated as routes and which are required to be marked.
On a portion of the roadway or shoulder of a highway for a purpose of residential access or for the purpose of access from lodging if the town, city or village, within which that portion of the highway lies, enacts an ordinance under s. 350.18 (3)
for that portion of the highway.
Snowmobiles may be operated adjacent to a roadway with due regard to safety in the following manner:
Along U.S. numbered highways, state and county highways at a distance of 10 or more feet from the roadway. Travel upon the median of a divided highway is prohibited except to cross.
During daylight hours travel may be in either direction regardless of the flow of vehicular traffic.
At night travel shall conform to the direction of vehicular traffic in the nearest lane unless:
The snowmobile trail is located at least 40 feet from the roadway, or is separated from the roadway by a head lamp barrier; and
The use of the snowmobile trail is approved by the department of transportation with respect to snowmobile trails located near or crossing state trunk highways or by the officer in charge of maintenance with respect to snowmobile trails located near or crossing other highways.
Whenever it is impracticable to gain immediate access to an area adjacent to a highway, other than a freeway, where a snowmobile is to be operated, the snowmobile may be operated adjacent and parallel to the roadway for the purpose of gaining access to and from the area of operation. Loading or unloading of the snowmobile shall be accomplished with due regard to safety at the nearest practical point to the area of operation.
No person may operate a snowmobile on or adjacent to a roadway in excess of the applicable roadway speed limit established under s. 346.57
unless the person is operating the snowmobile as part of a special event authorized under s. 350.04
Snowmobiles may be operated for emergency purposes on any highway during a period of emergency when so declared by the governmental agency having jurisdiction.
A law enforcement officer or a commission warden, as defined in s. 939.22 (5)
, may operate a snowmobile on a highway in performance of his or her official duties if the snowmobile is equipped with a light that is red or blue or a combination thereof and that is flashing, oscillating, or rotating.
Under no circumstances, except as provided in this section, is a snowmobile to be operated on the main-traveled portion of a highway or on the plowed portion.
The operator of a snowmobile shall slow the vehicle to a speed not to exceed 10 miles per hour and yield the right-of-way when traveling within 100 feet of a person who is not in or on a snowmobile except as provided in ch. 346
(2) Subsection (1)
does not apply to any of the following:
The operator of a snowmobile on a privately owned raceway facility.
The operator of a snowmobile in a sanctioned race or derby on public land, a highway or a snowmobile trail if the sponsor of the sanctioned race or derby marks the race or derby route or track to warn spectators from entering the route or track. In this paragraph, "public land" does not include the frozen surface of public waters.
Meeting of snowmobiles.
Operators of snowmobiles proceeding in opposite directions shall proceed with caution and pass each other to the right.
History: 2003 a. 166
Snowmobile races, derbies and routes. 350.04(1)(1)
Any county, town, city or village may block off the highways under its jurisdiction for the purpose of allowing special snowmobile events. No state trunk highway or connecting highway or part thereof, shall be blocked off by any county, town, city or village for any snowmobile race or derby. Every county, town, city or village shall notify the local police department and the county sheriff's office at least one week in advance of the time and place of any snowmobile race or derby which may result in any street or part thereof, of the county, town, city or village being blocked off. Upon such notice, the local police department shall take such measures as it deems appropriate to protect persons and property and to regulate traffic in the designated area and its vicinity on the day of such race or derby.
On state trunk bridges a sidewalk or, if no sidewalk exists, one lane of the bridge may be designated by the town, city or village as a snowmobile route. Towns, cities or villages may adopt ordinances designating highways as snowmobile routes for snowmobile operation, subject to the following limitations:
Snowmobiles shall be operated on the extreme right side of the roadway.
Left turns shall be made as safely as possible from any position depending on snow cover and other prevailing conditions.
Snowmobile operators shall yield right-of-way to other vehicular traffic and pedestrians.
Highways designated for snowmobile operation shall be marked in accordance with s. 350.13
Snowmobile operation is not permitted on state trunk highways or connecting highways except as provided under s. 350.02
No county, town, city or village shall be liable for any injury suffered in connection with a race or derby under this section, unless the injury is caused by the negligence of the county, town, city or village.
The county, town, city or village shall post the provisions of par. (a)
in a conspicuous place, readily accessible to all contestants and spectators, and shall assist in locating and identifying persons responsible for injuries that may occur.
See also s. NR 6.09
, Wis. adm. code.
Public utility exemption.
So that public utilities may effectively carry out their obligations to the public, the restrictions imposed by this chapter relating to use on, near or adjacent to highways shall not apply to snowmobiles operated to fulfill the corporate function of the public utility in those cases where safety does not require strict adherence to the regulations related to snowmobiles in general. However, snowmobiles operated by public utilities must be operated in a safe manner at all times.
History: 1971 c. 277
Local ordinance to be filed.
Whenever a town, city or village adopts an ordinance designating a highway as a snowmobile route, and whenever a county, town, city or village adopts an ordinance regulating snowmobiles, its clerk shall immediately send a copy of the ordinance to the department and to the office of the law enforcement agency of the municipality and county having jurisdiction over such street or highway.
History: 1971 c. 277
Operation by youthful operators restricted. 350.05(1)(1)
Persons under 12.
No person under the age of 12 years may operate a snowmobile unless the person is accompanied either by a parent or guardian or by a person over 18 years of age.
(2) Persons aged 12 and older; snowmobile safety certificates and program. 350.05(2)(a)(a)
No person who is at least 12 years of age and who is born on or after January 1, 1985, may operate a snowmobile unless he or she holds a valid snowmobile safety certificate.
Any person who is required to hold a snowmobile safety certificate while operating a snowmobile shall carry the certificate on the snowmobile and shall display the certificate to a law enforcement officer on request. Persons enrolled in a safety certification program approved by the department may operate a snowmobile in an area designated by the instructor.
This section does not apply to the operation of snowmobiles upon lands owned or leased by the operator's parent or guardian. As used in this section, "leased lands" does not include lands leased by an organization of which said operator or the operator's parent or guardian is a member.
For purposes of this section, "accompany" means to be on the same snowmobile as the operator.
Safety certification program established. 350.055(1)(1)
The department shall establish a program of instruction on snowmobile laws, including the intoxicated snowmobiling law, regulations, safety and related subjects. The program shall be conducted by instructors certified by the department. The department may procure liability insurance coverage for certified instructors for work within the scope of their duties under this section. For each person who is under the age of 16 years, the program shall include 6 hours of classroom instruction, and the instructor may provide to the person up to 2 additional hours of instruction on a snowmobile as to how it is actually operated. Each person satisfactorily completing this program shall receive a snowmobile safety certificate from the department. The department shall establish by rule an instruction fee for this program. An instructor conducting a program of instruction under this section shall collect the instruction fee from each person who receives instruction. The department may determine the portion of this fee, which may not exceed 50%, that the instructor may retain to defray expenses incurred by the instructor in conducting the program. The instructor shall remit the remainder of the fee or, if nothing is retained, the entire fee to the department. The department shall issue a duplicate certificate of accomplishment to a person who is entitled to a duplicate certificate of accomplishment and who pays a fee of $2.75.
A person who is required to hold a valid snowmobile safety certificate may operate a snowmobile in this state if the person holds a valid snowmobile safety certificate issued by another state or province of the Dominion of Canada and if the course content of the program in such other state or province substantially meets that established by the department under this section.
See also s. NR 19.50
, Wis. adm. code.
No person shall drive or pursue any animal with a snowmobile, except as a part of normal farming operations involving the driving of livestock.
History: 1971 c. 277
Owner permitting operation.
No owner or other person having charge or control of a snowmobile may knowingly authorize or permit any person to operate the snowmobile if the person is prohibited from operating a snowmobile under s. 350.05
, if the person is incapable of operating a snowmobile because of physical or mental disability or if the person is under the influence of an intoxicant.
Head lamps, tail lamps and brakes, etc. 350.09(1)
Any snowmobile operated during the hours of darkness or operated during daylight hours on any highway right-of-way shall display a lighted head lamp and tail lamp.
After February 12, 1970, the head lamp on a snowmobile may be of the single beam or multiple beam type, but in either case shall comply with the following requirements and limitations:
The head lamp shall be an electric head lamp and the current shall be supplied by a wet battery and electric generator, by a current-generating coil incorporated into the magneto or by a generator driven directly by the motor by means of gears, friction wheel, chain or belt.
The head lamp shall display a white light of sufficient illuminating power to reveal any person, vehicle or substantial object at a distance of 200 feet ahead.
If the snowmobile is equipped with a multiple beam head lamp, the upper beam shall meet the minimum requirements set forth in par. (b)
and the lower most beam shall be so aimed and of sufficient intensity to reveal persons and vehicles at a distance of at least 100 feet ahead.
If the snowmobile is equipped with a single beam lamp, such lamp shall be so aimed that when the vehicle is loaded none of the high intensity portion of the light, at a distance of 25 feet ahead, projects higher than the level of the center of the lamp from which it comes.
After February 12, 1970, the tail lamp on a snowmobile must display a red light plainly visible during darkness from a distance of 500 feet to the rear.
Every snowmobile shall be equipped with at least one brake operated either by hand or by foot, capable of bringing the snowmobile to a stop, under normal conditions, within 40 feet when traveling at a speed of 20 miles per hour with a 150 pound driver on a level, hard-packed snow surface, or capable of locking the track on a level, hard-packed snow surface. The design shall permit simple and easy adjustment to compensate for wear. There shall be no other control linked to the brake which impairs braking operation.
All snowmobiles manufactured after July 1, 1972, and offered for sale or sold in this state shall be equipped with side marker reflectors meeting the visibility requirements of society of automotive engineers standards or reflex material standards in compliance with federal specifications.
(8) Section 350.095
does not apply to snowmobiles competing in a sanctioned race or derby or to snowmobiles being tested by manufacturers, distributors or dealers on lands under their control.
No person may operate, offer for sale or sell a snowmobile that is manufactured after May 7, 1994, if the width of the snowmobile exceeds 48 inches.
All snowmobiles competing in a sanctioned race or derby shall be equipped with a device wired into the motor's electrical system that will shut off the motor if the operator falls from the snowmobile or otherwise leaves the operator's position. The device shall be capable of being attached to the body of the operator, and shall be so attached when the snowmobile is being operated.
See also s. NR 6.01
, Wis. adm. code.
Operation does not include the act of sitting on a parked snowmobile with its engine off. A person was not negligent per se for failing to have the head and tail lamps illuminated on a snowmobile that was not running at the time of an accident. Burg v. Cincinnati Casualty Insurance Co. 2002 WI 76
, 254 Wis. 2d 36
, 645 N.W.2d 880
Noise level requirements. 350.095(1)
Noise level standards; total vehicle noise. 350.095(1)(a)(a)
Every snowmobile that is manufactured on or after July 2, 1975, and that is offered for sale or sold in this state as a new snowmobile shall be manufactured so as to limit total vehicle noise to not more than 78 decibels of A sound pressure, as measured by Society of Automotive Engineers standards.
No snowmobile may be modified by any person in any manner that shall amplify or otherwise increase total vehicle noise above that emitted by the snowmobile as originally manufactured, regardless of date of manufacture.
(2) Noise level standards; exhaust and engine noise. 350.095(2)(a)(a)
No snowmobile may be manufactured, sold, offered for sale, or operated unless it is equipped with a muffler in good working order.
For snowmobiles manufactured after July 1, 1972, a muffler that is in good working order is one that blends the exhaust noise into the overall engine noise and is in constant operation to prevent exhaust and engine noise that exceeds the applicable noise level standards established under pars. (c)
For every snowmobile manufactured after July 1, 1972, and before July 2, 1975, the noise level standard for exhaust and engine noise shall be 90 decibels as measured in accordance with the procedures established for the measurement of exhaust sound levels of stationary snowmobiles in the January 2004 Society of Automotive Engineers Standard J2567.