As winter quickly approaches and we look to prepare our sleds for the riding season, some snowmobilers may find that some fines for certain snowmobile offenses have increased.
House Bill 630 increased the fines for unreasonable speed, sound level/exhausts, required equipment (exhausts), unregistered snowmobiles, and operating on the property of another without written landowner permission.
Previously these fines were $74.40 to $124. Effective in July, the NH snowmobile fines increase to $248.
Why Did NH Snowmobile Fines Increase?
The reason for the increase was that OHRV and snowmobilers both agreed that these fines were too low and were not having the effect on violators that they should have.
The main reason for fines is to change a behavior in those violating the law and the low fines were not making that change. Some violators had taken to social media and proudly announced that they had received a ticket with such a low fine.
With the increase in snowmobile registration fees for 2020-2021, some snowmobilers might take a chance and not register their machines if the fine for unregistered is the same as the registration fee.
Why do these laws warrant a higher fine?
Snowmobilers that operate over the speed limit put themselves and other lawful riders at risk. Unreasonable speed kills or severely injures people.
Loud exhausts cause trails to be shut down and infuriate trail abutters that have to listen to them on a daily basis.
Unregistered snowmobiles hurt the snowmobiling community. Registration dollars maintain trails and give us all the enjoyable riding experience that we get each winter. Trails are groomed and maintained because of registration dollars.
Those who operate without written landowner permission, and I am speaking to the “off-trail riders,” cause landowners to shut down trails and damage ecosystems. What some people deem as fun will cause the rest of us law abiding riders to lose trails systems that may never be replaced.
Hopefully, these increased fines will not affect you this riding season but if they do, at least you have an understanding of the reason for the increase.