[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Greenwich 5-10-2005 by L.L. No. 1-2005. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Vehicles and traffic — See Ch. 180.
Editor's Note: This local law was adopted as Ch. 164, but was renumbered to fit into the organizational structure of the Code.
The purpose of this chapter is to protect the public health, safety, and welfare by regulating the operation of snowmobiles on public highways and on public lands, which includes designated trails open to the public in the Town of Greenwich, so that all snowmobiles are operated in a manner which will be compatible with the use of such highways and public lands 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.
Generally prohibited. It shall be unlawful, except as provided in § 164-5 of this chapter, for any person to drive or operate any snowmobile on, over, or across any public highway or public trail. Further, for purposes of this chapter, it is hereby determined that outside banks and shoulders of all public roadways and highways are nonexistent by reason of the fact that they are impassable due to normally prevailing snow conditions and terrain in the Town of Greenwich.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- The entire width between the boundary or right-of-way lines of any way or place when any part thereof is open to the use of the public as a matter of right for the purpose of vehicular traffic, including all highways designated as seasonal limited-use highways and minimum maintenance roads.
- To ride in or on, other than as a passenger, or use or control the operation of a snowmobile in any manner, whether or not said snowmobile is underway.
- Every person who operates or is in actual physical control of a snowmobile.
- Any person having title to a snowmobile. If a snowmobile is sold under a contract of conditional sale whereby the title remains in the vendor, such vendor or his assignee shall not, after delivery of such snowmobile, be deemed an owner within the provisions of this section, but the vendee or his assignee, upon receipt of possession thereof, shall be deemed such owner notwithstanding the terms of such contract, until the vendor or assignee shall retake possession. A person holding only a security interest in a snowmobile shall not be deemed an owner unless such person also has possession of such snowmobile.
- A self-propelled vehicle designed for travel on snow or ice, steered by skis or runners and supported in whole or in part by one or more skis, belts or cleats.
- SNOWMOBILE TRAIL
- A way designated as open to the public for snowmobiling.
- SPECIAL EVENT
- An organized rally, race, exhibition or demonstration of limited duration, which is conducted according to a prearranged schedule and in which general public interest is maintained.
It shall be unlawful for any person to drive or operate any snowmobile in the following unsafe or harassing ways:
Imprudent speed: at a rate of speed greater than reasonable or proper under the surrounding circumstances. At no time shall the rate of speed exceed 55 mph.
Reckless operation: in a careless, reckless or negligent manner so as to unreasonably endanger the person or property of another or to cause injury or damage thereto.
Intoxication and drugs: while in an intoxicated condition or under the influence of narcotics or drugs as defined by § 114-a of the Vehicle and Traffic Law.
Between sunset and sunrise, or when lights are required for safety, without displaying at least one headlight and taillight; or
Operating other than as an emergency vehicle and displaying one or more lighted red or combination red and white lights which are revolving, rotating, flashing, oscillating, or constantly moving.
Railroad tracks: on the tracks or right-of-way of an operating railroad.
Plantings: in any tree nursery or planting in a manner which damages or destroys growing stock, or creates a substantial risk thereto.
On the lands of another: on private property without the consent of the owner or lessee thereof. Any person operating a snowmobile upon lands of another in violation of this section shall stop and identify himself upon the request of the landowner, his duly authorized representative or lessee, and, if requested to do so by said landowner, representative or lessee, shall promptly remove said snowmobile from the premises.
Towing a sleigh, sled, or toboggan: towing a sleigh, sled, or toboggan, by a snowmobile, unless attached by a rigid support, connection or towbar.
Failure to stop and yield: in any place at any time, failing to stop and yield to an authorized ambulance, civil defense or police snowmobile or police vehicle being operated as an emergency vehicle and approaching from any direction.
Failure and refusal to comply: in any place at any time, failing or refusing to comply with any lawful order or direction of any police officer or other person duly empowered to enforce all laws of the state relating to snowmobiles.
Speeding prohibited: Snowmobiles operating in the Town/village shall under no circumstance exceed any posted speed limit when operating on any snowmobile trail or highway designated as open to snowmobiling in § 161-5 of this chapter. In addition, snowmobiles shall always be operated at a speed which is reasonable and proper under existing circumstances as determined by any peace or police officer.
Obedience to vehicular traffic controls: Each person operating a snowmobile on any Town/village highway shall observe all vehicular traffic signs and signals and all other rules and regulations applicable to vehicular traffic, and shall obey the orders and directions of any state or local police or other law enforcement officer authorized to direct or regulate traffic.
Hours of operation: No person shall operate a snowmobile within 100 feet of a dwelling between 12:00 midnight and 6:00 a.m. at a speed greater than the minimum required to maintain forward movement of the snowmobile. (Note: To make this more objective and thus more enforceable a community could add a particular speed limit here, provided that if they do so they note that this act supersedes NYS Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Law § 25.05.)
A snowmobile may be operated on the public highways and public lands in the Town of Greenwich only under the following conditions:
Snowmobile trails: Snowmobiles may be operated on snowmobile trails open to the public as so designated under the Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Law of the State of New York, or as designated by the Town Board from time to time in a manner consistent with provisions of this chapter and all other county or state laws relating to the operation of snowmobiles.
Emergencies: Snowmobiles may be operated for the purpose of emergency travel only on all highways in the Town of Greenwich, during the period of time when and at locations where snow upon the highways renders travel by motor vehicles impractical as so declared and permitted by the chief executive officer of the Town of Greenwich, or when the specific travel for a specific purpose is authorized or directed by a peace or police officer or other duly recognized emergency personnel.
Highway crossings: Snowmobiles may be operated so as to take a direct crossing of a highway at any time of the day, provided that the crossing is made at an angle approximately 90° to the direction of the highway, at a place where no obstruction prevents a quick and safe crossing, the snowmobile is brought to a complete stop before crossing the main traveled way of the highway, and the driver yields the right-of-way to all oncoming traffic.
Culverts and bridges: Snowmobiles may be operated on highways when necessary to cross a bridge or a culvert for a distance not to exceed 500 yards.
Highways open for snowmobiling: A snowmobile may be operated on those highways or sections of highways in the Town of Greenwich as designated by resolution of the Board. Such designations will be posted in the Town Clerk's office and published in the official paper of the Town. Such resolution shall be adopted prior to September 1 each year when necessary to open highways to snowmobiling or to change the status of highways previously opened to snowmobiling.
Special events: Snowmobiles may be operated at special events in a manner consistent with this chapter, or in a manner as defined in Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation Law and upon authorization by the New York State Commissioner of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation.
No snowmobile shall be operated on a highway or public lands, which includes snowmobile trails designated as open to the public in the Town of Greenwich, unless the owner of such snowmobile has secured a policy of insurance affording coverage against liability imposed by law for bodily injury or death, and for property damage, to at least the minimum limits as required by the provisions of § 25.13 of the Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation Law of the State of New York and regulations promulgated thereunder.
The owner of a snowmobile shall maintain proof of financial security by means of a certificate of insurance indicating compliance with the minimum coverage requirements of this section. The failure to produce such certificate of insurance, when required to do so, upon the demand of a magistrate, police officer, or state policeman while such vehicle is being operated on any highway (including a trail designated as open to the public) in the Town of Greenwich shall be presumptive evidence of operating a snowmobile without securing such policy of insurance. Upon the production of such certificate of insurance, the presumption is removed.
This section specifically supersedes those provisions of § 25.13(1) of the New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Law by requiring liability insurance for operation on trails and outside banks,
Age of operator:
No person under the age of 10 years shall operate a snowmobile except upon lands owned or leased by his/her parent or guardian, unless (s)he is accompanied by a person over 18 years of age or a person over 16 years of age who holds a snowmobile safety certificate as issued by the Commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation. "Leased lands" as herein used shall not include lands leased by an organization of which said operator or his/her parent or guardian is a member.
A person under 10 years of age may operate a snowmobile when accompanied by a person specified in Subsection A(1) on trails or highways designated for snowmobile use by the Town of Greenwich. A person under 10 years of age shall not operate a snowmobile elsewhere on or across a highway at any time.
Snowmobile safety certificate: A person 10 years of age but less than 18 years of age who has received safety training as prescribed by the Commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation and has received the appropriate snowmobile safety certificate issued by said Commissioner may operate a snowmobile in the same manner as a person who is 16 years of age or older.
Exhibition of certificate: The failure of such a youthful operator to exhibit a snowmobile safety certificate upon demand to any magistrate or any other officer having authority to enforce the provisions of this chapter shall not be an offense, but shall be presumptive evidence that such person is not the holder of such certificate.
Prohibit unlawful operation: No owner of a snowmobile shall authorize or permit the operation thereof within the state by any person in violation of the provisions of this section.
In addition to any penalty contained in any other provisions of law, any person who shall violate any provision of this chapter shall be guilty of a violation and shall be punished by a fine of not more than $250 and/or 15 days in jail. (The Town could have an escalating fine for second or third violations committed within a specified period of time.)
A notice of violation may be issued by any state police officer, county sheriff, Town/village police officer or constable, conservation officer, parks and recreation officer, or by any other law enforcement official or other person so designated by the Town of Greenwich. Such authorized individual may initiate a violation by service of an appearance ticket.
Negligence in the use or operation of a snowmobile shall be attributed to the owner. Every owner of a snowmobile used or operated in the Town of Greenwich or in this state shall be liable and responsible for death or injury to a person or damage to property resulting from negligence in the use or operation of such snowmobile by any person using or operating the same with the permission, express or implied, of such owner; provided, however, that such operator's negligence shall not be attributed to the owner as to any claim or cause of action accruing to the operator or his legal representative for such injuries or death,
With respect to injuries arising from the operation of snowmobiles, no civil action shall be maintained against the Town of Greenwich or an officer thereof in charge of highway supervision and maintenance, for damages or injuries to person or property sustained by reason of any highway, bridge, street, sidewalk, crosswalk or culvert being defective, out of repair, unsafe, dangerous, or obstructed, unless prior written notice of such defective, unsafe, dangerous, or obstructed condition on such highway, bridge, or culvert was actually given to the municipal agent, officer, or employee authorized by § 311 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules to receive service or to the chief municipal officer in charge of highway supervision and maintenance, and there was a failure or neglect within a reasonable time thereafter to repair or remove the defect, danger, or obstruction complained of. No such action shall be maintained for damages or injuries to person or property sustained solely due to conditions caused by snow and/or ice removal, or the nonremoval thereof, from highways designated as open to snowmobiles in the Town of Greenwich.
The municipal officer in charge of highway supervision and maintenance and any other municipal agent, officer, or employee designated to receive service of process shall transmit in writing to the clerk of the municipal body involved, within 24 hours or as soon as practical after the receipt thereof, all written notices received by him pursuant to this section.
This section is included to clarify the application of § 71-b of General Municipal Law in the Town of Greenwich.