Introduced Version Senate Bill 457 History

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Senate Bill No. 457

(By Senator Chafin)


[Introduced March 4, 2005; referred to the Committee

on Transportation and Infrastructure.]


A BILL to repeal §17F-1-9 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended; and to amend and reenact §17F-1-1, §17F-1-2 and §17F-1-3 of said code, all relating to all-terrain vehicles generally; removing the authority of local governments to regulate all-terrain vehicles; prohibiting the operation of an all-terrain vehicle on any road or highway; prohibiting passengers, except when allowed under manufacturer's recommendations; requiring all riders under eighteen years of age to wear helmets; and providing for safety awareness courses.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §17F-1-9 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be repealed; and that §17F-1-1, §17F-1-2 and §17F-1-3 of said code be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:
§17F-1-1. Definitions.
(a) "All-terrain vehicle" or "ATV" means
a three-wheeled or four-wheeled vehicle, generally characterized by large low-pressure tires, a seat designed to be straddled by the operator and handlebars for steering, which is intended for off-road use, usually by an individual rider on various types of nonpaved terrain other than an unpaved race track .
(b) "Paved public highway" means any public street, alley, road, highway or thoroughfare of any kind in this state, used by the public, the surface of which is made of asphalt or concrete.
§17F-1-2. Acts prohibited by operator; penalties for violations.

(a) No all-terrain vehicle may be operated in this state:
(1) On any paved public highway, except:
(A) To cross a street or highway and the operator comes to a complete stop before crossing, proceeds only after yielding the right of way to oncoming traffic, and crosses at a right angle;
(B) When loading or unloading an ATV from a vehicle or trailer, which shall be done with due regard to safety, and at the nearest practical point of operation;
(C) When an emergency exists, during any period of time and at those locations when the operation of conventional motor vehicles is impractical or when the operation is directed by a police officer or other public safety personnel;
(D) When necessary to cross a bridge or culvert;
(E) Any ATV being operated for timbering, oil and/or gas maintenance or other commercial purposes;
(F) Any ATV being operated for agricultural or horticultural purposes;
(G) For special ATV events of limited duration which are conducted according to a prearranged schedule under permit from the governmental agency having jurisdiction;
(H) Any ATV operated as part of an organized tour or event conducted by any entity which is engaged, in whole or in part, in the business of providing ATV guide or ATV rental services to the public. The entity shall hold a current West Virginia business franchise license issued by the State of West Virginia Department of Tax and Revenue pursuant to the provisions of article twelve, chapter eleven of this code; or
(I) On a paved public highway designated by a city or municipal government and the Hatfield-McCoy Recreation Authority for the purpose of providing ingress and egress to and from the Hatfield-McCoy Trail and the city or municipality.
(2) On any part of any interstate highway except by public safety personnel responding to emergencies;
(3) On any road, trail or any other lands within the boundaries of any state park, state forest or any state-owned or leased wildlife management area, except as authorized by the Director of the Division of Natural Resources by rule promulgated pursuant to the provision of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code;
(4) On any road, trail or any other lands under the jurisdiction of the State Rail Authority, except as authorized by the Authority by rule promulgated pursuant to the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine of this code;
(5) On any road, trail or any other lands within the boundaries of land owned by a nonprofit or not-for-profit entity used for public recreational purposes except as authorized by the governing board of the entity;
(6) Within the boundaries of any county owned or operated recreational area except as authorized by the county commission of the county;
(7) With a passenger unless the manufacturer's specifications for the particular vehicle allow passengers;
(8) Unless operators and passengers eighteen years of age or younger are wearing size appropriate protective helmets that meet the current performance specifications established by the American National Standards Institute standard, z90.1, the United States Department of Transportation Federal Motor Vehicle Safety standard no. 218 or Snell safety standards for protective headgear for vehicle users;
(9) During the hours between dusk and dawn without an illuminated headlight or lights and tail lights;
(10) Without a manufacturer-installed or equivalent muffler in proper working order and properly connected to the vehicle's exhaust system;
(11) In a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger or cause injury or damage to any person or property;
(12) While under the influence of alcohol or any controlled substance, or under the influence of a combination of alcohol and any controlled substance or any other drugs. Violators of this subdivision are subject to the provisions of section two, article five, chapter seventeen-c of this code.
(b) Any person not exempted by the provisions of this article who violates the provisions of subsection (a) of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than two hundred fifty dollars.
§17F-1-3. Safety awareness courses.
(a) The Commissioner of Motor Vehicles shall offer a free all-terrain vehicle rider safety awareness course, and may approve other all-terrain vehicle rider safety awareness courses, to meet the reasonably anticipated needs of the public. The Commissioner shall offer free safety awareness course materials to authorized dealers of all-terrain vehicles for use by purchasers and potential purchasers free of charge.
(b) The Commissioner shall issue certificates of completion to persons who satisfactorily complete the requirements of an approved course. The Commissioner may authorize a dealer of all-terrain vehicles and other approved providers to issue the certificates of completion.
(c) No person under the age of eighteen may operate an all-terrain vehicle without a certificate of completion of a vehicle rider awareness course as offered or approved by the Commissioner.
(d) The provisions of subsection (c) of this section do not apply to the operation of an all-terrain vehicle on any private or public recreational trail or area or affiliated trail or area operated by a person or entity which has in place a safety program.

NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to remove the authority of local governments to regulate all-terrain vehicles. It also prohibits the riding of these vehicles on roads and highways. No passengers are allowed unless allowed under the manufacturer's recommendations and all riders under eighteen years of age must wear helmets.

§17F-1-1, §17F-1-2 and §17F-1-3 have been completely rewritten, therefore strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.
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