New OHV Laws Passed
Published on Saturday, September 25, 2010 in Legislative Affairs, News & Updates
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Many of you have heard about new legislation passed this summer that regulates Recreation Vehicles, Off-Highway Vehicles and Snow Vehicles. SAM worked hard to ensure that safe, enjoyable snowmobiling continues in Massachusetts. Below is a summary report that may answer many of your questions as well as a link to the actual law. The summary is the best interpretation we have at this time and may not be 100% accurate. It is subject to change.

It’s the LAW! Approved July 31, 2010
  • OHV Fund Established. Minimum of 25% of fines, registrations, donations and other sources must go to trail fund.
  • SAM has a seat on the new OHV advisory committee.
  • Snowmobiles can cross roads while ATV can’t unless approved (by state and local authorities)
  • Snow Vehicles are not subject to the 14 year old age limit like ATVs
  • Snow Vehicles for minors are not limited to 80cc engine capacity like ATVs
  • DUI results in loss of motor vehicle license and snow vehicle registration for at least a year
  • Removed the ban of two people riding on a one-person machine
  • Safety course not required for snowmobiles. The OHV (ATV) course is mandatory for those under 18 (with grandfathering). SAM has a safety course bill filed at the State House.
  • Registration numbers must be displayed on both sides of cowl in 3” block numbers, like NH
  • Snowmobile owner liability firmly established for anyone allowed to operate your sled regardless of age. Mistakes in age are not an allowable defense. If a non-owner rider does damage the owner of the sled is responsible.
  • Legal riders under 16 1/2 can cross a public way when directly supervised by an adult.
  • All fines went up sharply!
Before reading the law it is important to understand the legal definition of Recreation Vehicle, Off-Highway Vehicle and Snow Vehicle. Each point in the law defines which type of vehicle the legislation effects.
Recreation vehicle” or “off-highway vehicle,” any motor vehicle designed or modified for use over unimproved terrain for recreation or pleasure while not being operated on a public way as defined in chapter 90 including, but not limited to, all-terrain vehicles, off-highway motorcycles, dirt bikes, recreation utility vehicles and all registered motor vehicles while not being operated on a public way as defined in said chapter 90; provided, however, that recreation vehicles and off-highway vehicles operated exclusively for agricultural, forestry, lumbering or construction purposes shall not be subject to this chapter and it shall be an affirmative defense that such vehicle was being operated for such purposes at the time of an alleged violation of this chapter.
Snow vehicle”, a motor vehicle designed to travel over ice or snow, having a curb weight of not more than 453 kilograms or 1,000 pounds, driven by track or tracks in contact with the snow or ice and steered by a ski or skis in contact with the snow or ice.
More information about snowmobile laws and regulation can be found under the Resources/Ma Laws/Guidlines tab or click this link.

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