Snowmobiles serve as a means of transport during the winter season, as there are no roads outside the built-up areas in Svalbard.
If you are visiting Svalbard you can drive a snowmobile on your own within most of Management Area 10 (parts of the area are reserved for non-motorized activities). You are not allowed to drive a snowmobile outside of this area. However, if you join a tour organised by a tour operator in Svalbard or travel with a resident, you can also drive a snowmobile in parts of the east coast. Please check the map below showing the areas where visitors can drive snowmobiles.
Provisions concerning the driver
The same demands are made to snowmobile drivers in Svalbard as on the mainland. General traffic regulations and most of the articles in the "Road traffic act" apply. If you have a valid driving license for snowmobiles, you can drive a snowmobile from the year you turn 16. A driving licence for cars also applies for snowmobiles. The speed limit in the field is 80 km/h, and helmet is mandatory.
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 pedestrains), from both directions.
All snowmobile drivers are urged to use the River Bed Route so that the town centre 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 20km/h. There are no snowmobile paths 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".