CONTACT:
Maj. Tim Acerno: (603) 271-3129
Jane Vachon: (603) 271-3211
November 7, 2003


Gear Up for Snowmobile Safety
New Rules for Riders under Age 14

CONCORD, N.H. -- As snowmobilers gear up for a great season on the trails, New Hampshire Fish and Game officials offer a reminder to ride safely and responsibly. The Department's Conservation Officers will be out in full force this winter, patrolling the trails and urging riders to play it safe.

"Snowmobiling is a great way for folks to get outside and have fun this time of year," said Maj. Timothy Acerno, who heads up Fish and Game's Off-Highway Recreational Vehicle (OHRV) Education Program. "But riders do have a responsibility to obey the rules of the trails, to be courteous and -- most of all -- to ride safely. Our COs will be out on the trails all winter long using radar to enforce speed limits and setting up sobriety checkpoints as a visible reminder of those responsibilities."

Snowmobile safety education classes, taught by Department-certified volunteer instructors, are offered to the public free of charge. The courses are helpful for all snowmobilers and are required for youths of 12 and older who don't have a driving license and want to drive a snowmobile across public ways. A change in the law now requires all children under the age of 14 to be accompanied by a licensed adult when operating off their parents', grandparents' or guardians' property (previously, the law affected children under age 12). Parents are encouraged to stay during the classes and brush up on the basics of safe and responsible riding. Many classes end up with waiting lists, so sign up early. Click here to check on the availability of snowmobile safety courses.

Joining one of the more than 100 snowmobile clubs in New Hampshire is a way to learn about safe riding and help maintain trails for your own and others' enjoyment. Club membership also gives riders a $30 break on registration fees. For more information on how to become involved with a snowmobile club, visit www.nhsa.com.

"The New Hampshire Snowmobile Association (NHSA) and its member clubs have actively promoted safe and responsible riding since 1969," said NHSA president Dana Cabana. "We continue to work with the state to manage over 6,800 miles of trails and provide safety education to more than 2,500 children each year."

Conservation Officers will continue to use innovative enforcement patrols to detect and apprehend impaired snowmobile operators. To assist with this effort, the New Hampshire Highway Safety Council last year provided Preliminary Breath Test machines to each Conservation Officer in the state, an initiative that will continue to help keep the state's snowmobile trails safe for all outdoor enthusiasts.

"As snowmobiling grows in popularity, we've been pleased to see most riders become more responsible and safety conscious," Acerno said. "Fish and Game's staff will be out there to enforce the rules, check registrations and ensure the safety of the sport for everyone."

OHRV regulations are also posted on this site. Click here to review current OHRV rules and regulations.

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NH Fish and Game Dept.
11 Hazen Drive
Concord, NH 03301

603-271-3421
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