Since there are no roads outside the settlements in Svalbard, snowmobiles serve as a means of transport during the winter season.
If you are a resident in Svalbard you can drive a snowmobile on your own in most of Spitsbergen outside the old National Parks and Nature Reserves established in 1973. Parts of the area are reserved for non-motorized activities. You are not allowed to drive a snowmobile outside of this area. The exception is that you can apply for permission to drive in the three National Parks.
Please check the map below showing the areas where residents can drive snowmobiles.
Provisions concerning the driver
The same demands are made to snowmobile drivers in Svalbard as in the mainland. General traffic regulations and most of the articles in the "Road traffic act" apply. If you have a valid driving license for snowmobile, you can drive a snowmobile from the year you turn 16. A driving license for cars also applies for snowmobiles. The speed limit in the field is 80 km/h, and it is mandatory to use a helmet.
Driving in Longyearbyen
Longyearbyen is a community of families with many pedestrians. Children play all over the settlement, so please be very careful when driving. Do not forget that for snowmobiles, the duty to yield right of way applies to all traffic (motorized, bikes and pedestrians), from both directions.
All snowmobile drivers are urged to use the River Bed Route so that the town center may be spared for as much snowmobile traffic as possible. In the river bed, the speed limit is 50 km/h, while it is 30 km/h everywhere else in Longyearbyen, both on and off the roads.
Driving in Barentsburg
The speed limit in Barentsburg is 30km/h. There are no snowmobile routes in the settlement, and snowmobile drivers drive on the road. Be very careful and pay attention to pedestrians and cars.
The Road Traffic Act
In the "Road traffic Act" you will find provisions relating to snowmobile driving. Other regulations stipulate that unnecessary disturbance of game, or recklessness, is punishable. Driving a snowmobile may look easy, but you will find there are pitfalls. You should read about safe snowmobile driving in the folder "Safety in Svalbard".