Modes of Transportation – On a Snowmobile

Snowmobiles: What the Law Says

When riding a snowmobile, wearing a helmet is mandatory at all times, as is registration. You also need a valid driver's licence to use a public roadway, in places where this is allowed.

In brief

According to the law, a snowmobile is:

“A self-propelled vehicle built for travel primarily on snow or ice, whether equipped or not with steering skis or runners and driven by an endless track in contact with the ground.”

Operating a snowmobile on public roadways is prohibited

However, there are some exceptions:

  • to cross at a place designated by a road sign or signal
  • to travel on a roadway, over a maximum distance of 1 km, only:
    • if authorized by road signs or signals
      AND
    • if the purpose is to reach a trail, service station or another public area that is accessible only by the roadway

In all cases, you must hold a valid driver's licence, regardless of its class.

Driver's licence: mandatory to cross any public roadway

If you need to cross a public roadway, i.e. a road, you must hold a driver's licence. To comply with this requirement, you must:

  • hold a valid driver's licence or probationary licence
  • comply with the conditions that are associated with your licence

Minimum age to operate a snowmobile: 16

Snowmobilers aged 16 and 17 must hold a certificate of competence issued by the Fédération des clubs de motoneigistes du Québec.

Snowmobilers aged 16 and 17 who live in another Canadian province or in another country must hold a snowmobile operator's certificate issued by their place of residence.

Vehicle registration: mandatory at all times, in all places

Snowmobiles must be registered, even if they are only used on designated trails.

Licence plates must also be affixed to the snowmobile.

Warning

Caution! Even if your snowmobile is registered…

You are not covered by the SAAQ in the event of an accident resulting in bodily injury, except if the accident involves another moving registered vehicle.

Private insurance: mandatory for snowmobiling

You must hold private civil liability insurance for at least $500,000 to ensure compensation for any bodily injury or property damage caused by your vehicle in the event of an accident.

Snowmobiles and protective helmets: mandatory at all times

Snowmobile operators and passengers as well as passengers on board a sled pulled by a snowmobile must wear:

  • a helmet that meets standards
  • goggles, if the helmet is not equipped with a visor

Snowmobile speed limits

Speed limit on trails: 70 km/h

Except when signs post a higher or lower speed limit.

Maximum speed of 50 km/h

When you are travelling less than 100 metres away from:

  • a dwelling
  • a health care establishment
  • an area reserved for cultural, educational, recreational or sports activities

Maximum speed of 30 km/h

When you are travelling less than 30 metres away from:

  • a dwelling
  • a health care establishment
  • an area reserved for cultural, educational, recreational or sports activities

Snowmobiling while impaired by alcohol, drugs or medication

Operating a snowmobile while impaired by alcohol, drugs or medication is prohibited.

If you commit an offence, the penalties that apply are the same as those that apply to any other driver.