CONFUSED ABOUT YOUTHFUL SNOWMOBILE OPERATION LAWS????
are confused about where kids under 16 can operate a snowmobile you are not
alone. Much of the confusion comes from the current snowmobile regulations
booklet and requires you to dive a little deeper into the statute books to
obtain "the rest of the story".
M.S. 84.862 currently requires that any resident born after
12-31-1976 who operates a snowmobile in Minnesota to have taken snowmobile
M.S 84.872 provides that those under the age of 14 who have not
taken safety training may only operate a snowmobile on public land, public
easements, water, or grant-in-aid trail if they are accompanied by; a parent,
legal guardian or other person 18 or older designated by the parent or legal
guardian on the on the same or an accompanying snowmobile, or on a device towed
by the same or an accompanying snowmobile.
What is missing from this language is whether or not someone
under 14 who has not taken training can operate on "private land" if they
are supervised by an adult. The answer is yes. Even though private land was not
listed as one of the options where youthful operators could operate under adult
supervision, it is implied that since youthful operators may operate on public
land under adult supervision they may also operate on private land under
supervision. The legislative intent was never to deny access to youthful
operators being supervised by their parents on private land.
Here are a couple of quick "Ifs" for you to follow.
- If you are under the age of 14 you can operate a snowmobile
on public lands and waters and on private land if you are supervised by a
parent or guardian or their designee who is 18 or over from the same or an
accompanying machine. You may not cross a roadway.
- If you are 12 or 13 and have taken safety training you may
operate a snowmobile on public lands and waters, but, may not cross a
- If you are 14 and have taken safety training you may operate
a snowmobile and cross a roadway.
- If you were born after 12-31-76, are a resident of Minnesota
and do not fall into one the above age categories, you have to have taken
safety training in order to operate a snowmobile anywhere in
Conservation Officers want to remind parents to never allow
young operators to drive snowmobiles without their knowledge and snowmobiles
should never be regarded as toys for young drivers to use without adequate
supervision and training. Officers do not routinely patrol private lands to
check on young operators and use a great deal of discretion when they do,
however, parents are reminded that they should instruct young operators to stay
on private lands if they are not legally able to operate elsewhere.
84.862 Subd. 2. Adult safety training. (a) Effective
October 1, 2002, any resident born after December 31, 1976,
and before December 31, 1983, who operates a snowmobile in
Minnesota, must possess:
84.872 Youthful snowmobile operators; prohibitions.
Subdivision 1. Restrictions on operation. (a)
Notwithstanding anything in section 84.87 to the contrary, no person
under 14 years of age shall make a direct crossing of a trunk, county state-aid, or county highway as the operator of a
snowmobile, or operate a snowmobile upon a street or highway
within a municipality.
A person 14 years of age or older, but less than 18 years
of age, may make a direct crossing of a trunk, county
state-aid, or county highway only if the person has in
(1) a valid snowmobile safety certificate issued by the
(2) a driver's license that has a valid snowmobile qualification indicator issued under section 171.07, subdivision
12; or (3) an identification card that has a
valid snowmobile qualification indicator issued under
section 171.07, subdivision 12.
(b) Notwithstanding section 84.862, no person under the age of
14 years shall operate a snowmobile on any public land, public easements, or water or grant-in-aid trail unless accompanied by one of the following listed persons on the same
or an accompanying snowmobile, or on a device towed by the
same or an accompanying snowmobile: the person' parent,
legal guardian, or other person 18 years of age or older
designated by the parent or guardian. However, a person 12
years of age or older but under the age of 14 years may
operate a snowmobile on public lands, public easements, and
waters or a grant-in-aid trail if the person has in
immediate possession a valid
snowmobile safety certificate issued by
Capt. Jeff Thielen