Carthage Debates Problems of ATVs on Public Streets

A common problem in many places in NNY


Image courtesy of Morguefile user Dodgerton Skillhause.

The debate about how to police off-road vehicles on public roads continues.

Zana Healy, Staff Reporter

Should ATVs/UTVs be allowed to be driven on the streets? New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law says no, but the people and local lawmakers often say there isn’t a problem.

The Village of Carthage police believe that ATVs/UTVs shouldn’t be allowed on the streets due to safety problems such as people not paying attention and getting into accidents.

According to the article, “ATVs dangerous, deadly on public roads” more ATV fatal accidents occur on public roads rather than on off-road paths and trails because of the way ATVs are built. To give them ground clearance, these vehicles have a high center of gravity and a narrow wheelbase which makes them more prone to flip over when they are on pavement.

The police have the right to try and stop ATV/UTVs drivers from using public roads and streets for their own safety. But ATVs and UTVs have many trails along the roads and the easiest (and occasionally only) way to get to them is by driving the ATV/UTVs on the streets that lead to them.

On March 20th of 2017 in Carthage there was a meeting held to discuss ATVs on the roads along with many other issues.

According to reporting on “the village Police Chief Reginald Huber says there are people abusing the law by going to a different destination or going too fast.”

Huber said “I don’t want to punish ATV riders,” he said, “I think it’s just an officer safety issue. We’re either going to have to address or choose to ignore it.”

But so far the Village Board is choosing a “wait and see” approach, and Huber isn’t very happy about it.

Other drivers’ safety is more important to the police rather than the ATV drivers because of the fact ATVs are meant for off-roading. ATVs often don’t have basic traffic equipment like turn signals to let other people know which direction they are going.

They also don’t have basic safety equipment that is found in cars–so a car vs. ATV accident is more likely to leave someone dead.  Within the past decade, at least one Indian River student has been killed by a car while on an ATV.