Breckenridge increases fines for snowmobiles on bike path |

Breckenridge increases fines for snowmobiles on bike path

BRECKENRIDGE – The Breckenridge Town Council Tuesday night approved an amendment to the town code that will make snowmobiling on the bike path a misdemeanor offense punishable by a fine of $100 to $999, up to 364 days in jail, or both.

The current ordinance indicates that someone violating the law will be fined $25 in municipal court.

The issue has reared its head periodically throughout the years, primarily because snowmobile operators don’t always know where they can and can’t go. The bike path is posted with signs that say motorized vehicles are not permitted, and while many snowmobilers ride with guided tours whose leaders make sure the sleds are on designated trails, others choose to disregard the town’s existing ordinance, which prohibits snowmobiles on town roads and the bike path.

The only time a snowmobile can be on streets or the highway is to cross to the other side, during special snowmobile events or emergency situations, on rights-of-way as far from the road as practical and on streets that aren’t maintained for winter motor vehicle traffic.

Law enforcement officials have long noted that it is difficult, at best, and impossible at worst to detain a driver who is snowmobiling in areas he or she is not permitted, particularly since the sleds can be driven at high speeds on varied terrain, most of which isn’t accessible by motor vehicle.

The issue is again in front of the town council as winter approaches because legitimate bike path users – Nordic skiers, snowshoers, runners and other nonmotorized users – have complained that snowmobiles are using the path illegally, degrading their outdoor experience and endangering people.

Breckenridge town officials now are trying to market and expand upon other recreational activities in town, including Nordic skiing. That could eventually mean Nordic skiers will use the bike path regularly to travel between the Breckenridge Nordic Center on Peak 8 to the Gold Run Nordic Center at the golf course and even on to the Frisco Nordic Center at the peninsula.

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