ATV problems are on the rise
ATV problems are on the rise across Morgan County. People are riding their ATVs where they shouldn't be and are not wearing the proper safety equipment, said Chief Deputy Vince Shambaugh of the Morgan County Sheriff's Department.
Shambaugh reminded residents that there is a county ATV ordinance. ATVs are not allowed on any county state-maintained roads, he said.
The sheriff will charge ATV ordinance violators at least $250 in fines and court costs and the bike will be impounded, said Shambaugh. Helmets are also required for ATV drivers and passengers that are under the age of 18.
Deputies have had calls from all over the county regarding ATV problems and accidents over the last few weeks.
On Saturday night, a Paw Paw girl was seriously hurt in an ATV accident, said Shambaugh. She is hospitalized with severe head injuries, he said. There have been several fatalities from ATV accidents in Morgan County over the last few years, said Shambaugh.
The All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Ordinance was enacted by the Morgan County Commission on June 4, 2004 and was effective on August 3, 2004. The ordinance prohibits any person from operating an ATV on any public state-maintained road or highway, whether or not that road contains a center line.
The Town of Bath and the Town of Paw Paw each have an ATV ordinance in place that basically says the same thing as the county ordinance, said Shambaugh.
ATV ordinance highlights
Those who are convicted of violating the county ATV ordinance through operation of an ATV or by allowing others to use their ATV in violation of the ordinance are upon convic-
tion found guilty of a misdemeanor.
Any parent, legal guardian or person who is responsible for a child under 18 who is driving or is a passenger on an ATV without a required helmet will be upon conviction considered guilty of a misdemeanor.
In both of the above ordinance infractions, violators will be fined $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second offense and $500 for a third or subsequent offense, said Magistrate Greg Miller.
Court costs would also be charged in addition to the fine. Magistrate Court costs for the violations are $160.50 per case, said Miller. In some cases, deputies are impounding the bikes, he said.
The ordinance exempts use of ATVs for lawful, non-recreational commercial purposes that include farm use, oil and gas operations, timbering, surveying and public utilities access. The commissioners require those claiming an exemption to provide evidence that their ATV is being used for lawful, non-recreational commercial purposes.
Stay off the county roads
If you have private property, you can ride your ATVs there, but stay off the county roads, said Shambaugh.