Q: With snow just around the corner, folks are getting ready to ride their snowmobiles. What are the educational requirements for the legal operation of a snowmobile?
A: Current statute requires anyone born after Dec. 31, 1976 to take a safety-training course before operating a snowmobile on public lands or waters. Two types of courses are available. First, for those 11-years-old and older, an 11-hour introductory course designed for youth or the rider with little or no experience, which includes hands-on training. Second, for those 16-years-old and older, an independent study CD-based course where students learn at home.
Once they have successfully completed their courses, students follow a path by age to receive a certificate of completion from the DNR. Both these courses show students the most common causes of snowmobile accidents in Minnesota, and how to avoid them. Volunteers teach classes across the state. Information regarding snowmobile certification classes can be found on the DNR's website at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/vehicle/snowmobile.
- Capt. Mike Hammer, recreational vehicle coordinator, DNR Enforcement Division