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<title>Bill introduced to ban ATVs on paved roadways</title>
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<h1>[b]Bill introduced to ban ATVs on paved roadways[/b]</h1>
[url="http://www.register-herald.com/local/local_story_036223333.html"][b]Go here for the full story[/b][/url]
CHARLESTON — Removing all-terrain vehicles from all paved roads in West Virginia, except to cross or when a city or county wants an exception, is the sole focus of this year’s ATV safety bill.
Introduced Tuesday by Senate Judiciary Chairman Jeffrey Kessler, D-Marshall, the proposal is the latest model to roll off the Legislature’s assembly line.
A year ago, safety advocates were dismayed when an ATV safety bill was left parked in the Senate Rules Committee over a dispute that centered on banning passengers from four-wheelers not made to accommodate them.
In the previous bill, language was inserted to bar counties and municipalities from allowing ATV riders, but this one addresses exceptions. The only exceptions now are counties that have comprehensive planning commissions, but the new bill would extend the discretion of allowing four-wheelers in all 55.
“It’s not like we’re recommending there be joyriding in the middle of the street,” emphasized Karen Coria, an official of the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America, the prime supporter of ATV safety legislation.
“But there are going to be special circumstances where a municipality or a county may want to address having an ATV pathway, something they can enforce, something where there’s a safety environment where the public is aware of this.”
Coria pointed out at least six towns already allow ATVs within their limits, such as Gilbert, which permits them as part of its linkup with the Hatfield-McCoy Trail.
“And according to their folks, they haven’t had any incidents,” she said.
Last year, ATV accidents were blamed in 45 deaths, while the state recorded 54 fatalities in the previous year.
“It’s still too high,” Coria said of the annual death toll. “If getting them from the paved roads can have the effect of just one person not being killed, then it’s all worth it.”
Kessler was joined in sponsoring the bill by Sens. Jon Blair Hunter, D-Monongalia, Dan Foster, D-Kanawha, Evan Jenkins, D-Cabell, and John Unger, R-Berkeley.
Half of the accidents are known to occur on paved surfaces, Coria said.
Current law bans four-wheelers from roads with a centerline stripe or more than two lanes, but that doesn’t cover some 20,000 miles of unlined, paved, so-called “country roads.”
“This legislation would end joyriding on those roads,” Coria said.
“Existing law says you can drive from one trail to another, or one field to another, on the shoulder, not to exceed 10 miles at 25 miles per hour. That would still be in place.”
Nor does the bill attempt to revise the current law on headgear.
“All we’re trying to do this time is to create a safety enforcement on the road,” Coria said.
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