[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Van Buren 2-19-1975. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to protect the public health, welfare and safety by regulating the operation of snowmobiles on public highways and places of the Town of Van Buren in a manner which will be compatible with the use of such highways and places for vehicular and pedestrian travel and other uses and which will promote the safe and proper use of snowmobiles for recreation and commerce and minimize detrimental effects of such use on the environment.
For the purpose of this chapter, the following words, phrases and terms shall have the following meanings:
- The entire width between boundary lines of any right-of-way or property owned in fee by the Town of Van Buren when any part thereof is open to the use of the public, as a matter of right, for the purpose of travel and access.
- MUNICIPAL CORPORATION
- Includes a county, city, town, village, school district and a special or improvement district of a county or town.
- To ride in or on, other than as a passenger, use or control the operation of a snowmobile in any manner, whether or not said snowmobile is under way.
- Every person who operates or is in actual physical control of a snowmobile.
- A person, other than a lien holder, having the property in or title to a snowmobile.
- Includes an individual, a partnership, corporation, municipal corporation, the state and its agencies and subdivisions, and any body of persons, whether incorporated or not.
- That portion of the highway which is designed, paved and improved or ordinarily used for vehicular travel.
- That portion of the highway between the roadway and adjacent drainage ditches being generally graded to conduct water from the roadway to the drainage ditches. On unpaved highways, the "shoulder" means the portions of the highway between the centermost 16 feet of the roadway and the drainage ditches.
- A self-propelled vehicle designed for travel on snow or ice, steered by skis or runners and supported in part by skis, belts or cleats.
- SPECIAL EVENT
- An organized race, exhibition or demonstration of snowmobiles of limited duration which is conducted according to a prearranged schedule and duly permitted by the State of New York.
Operation of snowmobiles on highways of the town shall be subject to the applicable provisions of Title D of the Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation Law of the State of New York, the Rules and Regulations of the State Office of Parks and Recreation, and the rules, restrictions and conditions set forth in this chapter.
Only the following highways of the town are hereby designated as uncontested for the purpose of operating snowmobiles on the shoulders thereof as authorized by Title D of the Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation Law:
Operation of snowmobiles shall be permitted on the shoulder of all other town highways, roads and streets for the purpose of gaining access to and from an open, off-road area of operation adjacent to said town highways, roads and streets, subject to the provisions contained in § 156-5 of this chapter.
All highways may be used by snowmobiles for emergency travel only when a state of emergency has been declared by the Town Supervisor by reason of snow accumulation which renders travel by automobile impracticable.
Subject to the restrictions and conditions in § 156-5 of this chapter, and the Rules and Regulations of the State Office of Parks and Recreation and the Rules and Regulations of the Town of Van Buren Parks and Recreation Department, snowmobiles may be operated only on or along designated and marked trails in town parks.
Whenever the operation of a snowmobile is permitted on a highway or portion thereof, or in parks of the town, as provided in this chapter, the following conditions and restrictions are hereby imposed on all such snowmobile operations:
Public or private lands. No person shall operate a snowmobile or permit a snowmobile to be operated on any lands owned, occupied by or under the jurisdiction of the town, or on privately owned lands, except with the permission of the town, or the owner or lessee.
Direction of travel. No person shall operate a snowmobile within a highway of the town, except on the right side of such highway and in the same direction as other vehicular traffic. Operation on other public places shall be only in the direction marked by appropriate route direction signs.
Speed. No person shall operate a snowmobile at an imprudent speed or in a reckless way or in any other such manner as to endanger life or property.
Visibility. Except in case of emergency, no person shall operate a snowmobile on a highway under conditions wherein visibility has been reduced below 100 feet.
Financial security. It shall be unlawful for any person to operate or permit the operation of a snowmobile on a highway or public lands unless the owner or operator of such snowmobile is insured against public liability and the operator carries with him proof of financial responsibility, such as a certificate of liability insurance of the type, coverage and minimum amount as defined and required of owners and operators of motor vehicles by the Vehicle and Traffic Law of the State of New York. Such proof shall upon request be displayed by the operator of any snowmobile to any law enforcement officer or to any person who has suffered or claims to have suffered either personal injury or damage to property as a result of the operation of such snowmobile by such operator.
Unattended snowmobiles. It shall be unlawful for any owner or operator to leave a snowmobile or allow a snowmobile to be left unattended on any town road.
Obedience to vehicular traffic controls. Each person operating a snowmobile on a town road shall observe and strictly obey all vehicular traffic signs and signals and all other rules and regulations applicable to vehicular traffic, and shall obey the orders and directions of state or local police or other law enforcement officer authorized to direct and regulate traffic.
Age of operator. For persons 16 years of age or older, no operator's license or permit is required. Children at least 10 years of age but not yet 16 must obtain a snowmobile safety certificate to operate a snowmobile on other than family-owned or leased lands. Children under 10 years of age may operate a snowmobile on other than family-owned or leased lands only when accompanied by a person 18 years of age or older or by a person at least 14 years of age who holds a snowmobile safety certificate. No person under 10 years of age may operate a snowmobile on or across any public highway.
The Town of Van Buren does not extend any assurance to owners, operators or occupants of snowmobiles or to any other person that any public lands, trails, rights-of-way, streets or highways, or the shoulders or snowbanks thereof, upon which the operation of snowmobiles are permitted, are safe for such purpose; nor does the town assume responsibility or incur liability for any injury to person or property caused by an act or omission of any person operating a snowmobile thereon.
Any person who shall violate any of the provisions of this chapter shall be subject to a fine of not less than $5 nor more than $100 for each such violation.