Motor traffic in nature

It is prohibited to drive a motorised vehicle in off-road terrain, even if it is your own land. There are some general exceptions from the ban and it is also possible to apply for an exemption for driving off-road. Special rules apply for jet skis and snowmobiles.

Off-road driving is prohibited in the whole of Sweden. The County Administrative Board may decide on an exemption from the off-road driving ban and the snowmobile ban. We work to ensure that motor traffic does not interfere with, or harm, the land, vegetation, recreational life, animal life, reindeer husbandry, agriculture, or forestry.

Ban on off-road driving

The main provision under the Off-Road Driving Act is that it is prohibited to drive a motorised vehicle on bare ground, even if it is your own land.

What counts as terrain?

All natural land off roads is counted as terrain, for example:

  • parks
  • fields
  • meadows
  • fens
  • mires
  • beaches
  • bare mountains
  • hiking trails
  • running trails
  • tractor paths

What counts as a motorised vehicle?

Motorised vehicles is a collective term for all types of vehicles powered by a motor, for example:

  • car
  • motorcycle
  • four-wheel-/ATV
  • tracked vehicle
  • snowmobile
  • electric bike

You are permitted to use electric bicycles with a maximum 250-watt engine power in nature according to the off-road driving law. Note! You still need the landowner’s permission.

Exceptions from the ban on off-road driving

There are general exceptions from the ban on off-road driving. The exemptions can require the approval from the landowner and only apply if the measure cannot be carried out in other appropriate ways.

What do the exceptions apply for?

The general exceptions apply for:

  • Agriculture
  • Forestry
  • Staff working on a governmental or municipal assignment
  • Civil protection
  • Doctors
  • Fire department
  • Mountain rescue
  • Reindeer husbandry
  • Retrieving trapped bears, moose, deer or wild boar.

Exemption for off-road driving

You may apply for an exemption for driving off-road if you have special reasons. An exemption is a single exception from the ban. Besides the exemption, you need the approval of the landowner to drive on the ground.

Reasons for an exemption may, for example, be:

  • Disability
  • Certain material transports
  • Competitions
  • And more

The e-services and forms of the County Administrative Board in this field are not available in English. If you wish to submit an application or notification, you may contact the County Administrative Board, which can inform you how to proceed.

Snowmobile

Snowmobiles may only be driven on well snow-covered ground, where neither the ground nor the vegetation are damaged. Within certain areas, mostly in the mountains, the snowmobile traffic is regulated by snowmobile bans. There, you are only permitted to drive on designated and marked scooter trails.

Driving a snowmobile is not included in the right of public access, which means that you do not have an obvious right to drive on someone else’s’ land. As a snowmobile driver, you should firstly drive on marked scooter trails. Public scooter trails are usually maintained by the County Administrative Board or the municipality. Some scooter trails are maintained by scooter clubs or other actors.

You must drive cautiously, even on scooter trails. If the snow is thin or loose, the scooter will touch the ground and will count as driving on bare ground, which is not allowed.

Personal water crafts (PWC)

You may only drive a personal water craft in designated waterways or in areas that are approved by the County Administrative Board. If you break the rules you may be fined.

What counts as a designated waterway?

Marine charts and the Swedish Maritime Administration hold a list of which waterways are designated waterways.

You can also contact the Swedish Maritime Administration and Swedish Transport Administration to find out which designated waterways there are. Harbour areas and municipal recreational boat lanes are not designated waterways and you are therefore not allowed to drive private water crafts in these areas. The police and Coast Guard are responsible for the supervision of driving personal water crafts.

Do I need a driver’s license for a PWC?

From May 1st 2022, you need a driver’s license to drive a personal water craft. You apply for this with the Swedish Transport Administration.

What responsibilities do I, as a PWC driver, have?

Just like all other seafarers, you have a responsibility to know which rules apply and to follow them. You should follow the rules in the Swedish Maritime Code regarding consideration, behaviour, sobriety, and speed. The provisions of the Environmental Code on noise, protected areas and protected species also apply to you as a PWC driver.

The Police can give out fines for disturbing and unnecessary PWC driving.

Who do I contact if I am disturbed by PWC driving?

The Police can give out fines for disturbing and unnecessary PWC driving. You can also contact the Coast Guard if your issue regards the coast, Mälaren or Vänern.

Helmet rules

The Swedish Transport Administration provides more information about which rules that apply to helmets and off-road driving.

Questions and answers about helmet rules, Swedish Transport Administration External link.

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