Is it allowed to toboggan in forests?
Tobogganing or bobsleighing in the forest (which includes forest roads or other forest paths) is considered as riding of vehicles in the forest and therefore requires the consent of the forest owner or forest road maintainer.
The Forest Act 1975 stipulates that anyone may in principle enter and spend some time in forests for recreational purposes.
Certain forest areas and those forest areas that the forest owner has closed off (in a manner permitted by the Forest Act) are exempt from this legal obligation.
In addition, forest areas may also be excluded (banned) from use for recreational purposes under other laws.
Any use beyond entering and spending time for recreational purposes, such as camping in the dark, tenting, riding a vehicle or horse-riding, is subject to permission from the forest owner and, as regards forest roads, subject to permission from the forest road maintainer, who is usually the forest owner.
Tobogganing or bobsleighing in forests (which include forest roads or other forest paths) is considered riding a vehicle in the forest, is not covered by the general right of use laid down in the Forest Act and therefore requires the consent of the forest owner or forest road maintainer.
According to the Forest Act tobogganing or bobsleighing in the forest without the consent of the forest owner or forest road maintainer is, apart from possible civil law consequences, punishable by a fine of up to € 150. Anyone riding a vehicle on a forest road that is visibly closed for general traffic is to be punished by a fine of € 730 or arrest for up to one week.
Dangers of accidents and liability risks in the case of unauthorised tobogganing or bobsleighing in forests
Unauthorised tobogganing or bobsleighing on forest roads or in other forest areas means self-endangerment and involves liability risks, for example in the event of accidents involving forest managers (timber transport) or pedestrians.
Forest roads and forest paths are subject to the 1960 Road Traffic Regulations (“Straßenverkehrsordnung 1960“, “StVO“). If tobogganing or bobsleighing has been permitted by the forest owner or forest road maintainer, persons who ski or toboggan on these roads must, in accordance with § 87 para. (3) StVO, show consideration for and avoid other road users.
• Forest Act 1975 (“Forstgesetz 1975“), Federal Law Gazette No 440, as last amended by Federal Law Gazette I No 56/2016 "Rechtsinformationssystem"
Road Traffic Regulations 1960 (“Straßenverkehrsordnung 1960“), Federal Law Gazette No 159/1960, as applicable "Rechtsinformationssystem"
Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Regions and Water Management
Directorate III 2 - Forest Legislation, Legal Policy and Vocational Qualification
Director Mag. Katharina Kaiser
Phone: +43 1 711 00 - 606681