What You Should Know Before Riding Snowmobiles In Indiana
Indiana Open for Snowmobilers to Ride Safe and Sober
Winter weather has arrived and with it comes the thousands of snowmobile enthusiasts who ride through our beautiful state each season. Several Indiana Snowmobile Trails are now open through March (or as long as snow conditions remain “adequate” and trails are posted as open). Indiana is currently home to more than 200 miles of snowmobile trail so it remains important to help riders of all levels understand the state’s snowmobile regulations and safety warnings.
Indiana Snowmobile Laws and Safe Riding Tips
If you operate a snowmobile on public property:
- If you operate a snowmobile on public property, it must be registered
- Registration is $30.00 for three years.
- Snowmobiles may ride on the public right-of-way adjacent to a public highway, except a limited access highway.
- You may cross a public highway, other than a limited access highway, at right angles to get from one area to another. Before crossing, make a complete stop and yield right-of-way to all traffic.
- Cities, towns, and counties have individual laws pertaining to snowmobiles. Check before riding.
- A snowmobile must have at least one headlight and one tail light, which must be on between dusk and dawn.
- Ride at a reasonable speed in relation to existing conditions.
- Do not ride while under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
- Do not harass or endanger wildlife.
- Do not ride on any property without permission of the landowners.
- Do not ride on railroad track or railroad right-of-way.
In addition, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources provides these safe riding tips:
- Slow down.
- Never drink and ride.
- Carry a first-aid kit and dress appropriately.
- Avoid traveling across bodies of water.
- Stay on marked trails or, where allowed, on the right shoulder of the road.
- Never travel alone. If you must travel alone, tell someone your destination, planned route, and when you will return.
Alcohol Remains Heavy Contributor to Indiana Snowmobile Accidents
The most common reasons for snowmobile accidents are operator error or negligence, including excessive speed, traveling over unknown irregularities in terrain, or operating the ORV while under the influence of alcohol. Most fatal snowmobile accidents occur in the evening hours, due to head or neck injuries, drowning, and hypothermia and attributed to alcohol. Drinking alcohol before snowmobiling or during your ride slows your reactions, impairs your judgment, and is a leading contributor to snowmobiling deaths. Last winter, alcohol was involved in 70 percent of Indiana snowmobiling fatalities.
In order to prove snowmobile operator negligence, it must be established that a duty of care was due to one person from another, and that duty of care was not met. Liability can be mitigated if another involved party was also negligent. Also, as with cars, product liability may come into play if there is a defect with the machine that causes an accident, injury, or death.
Traumatic Injuries and Wrongful Death Attorneys
Contact us if you or your loved one has been involved in a snowmobiling accident by submitting our online form. If you wish to speak directly with us, please call our attorneys at (888) 204-8440. The snowmobile accident team at Wagner Reese can help you and your family focus on healing by providing legal experience and support.