The third time around, the West Virginia Legislature will attempt to pass a bill
regulating ATV's on state highways. In case you didn't know, police essentially have
little authority over four-wheelers or other variations of ATV's from traveling the
Most ATV operators believe you can ride on secondary or unimproved roads, but not
primary highways. There is no law specifically addressing the issue. In southern West
Virginia it is not uncommon for ATV owners to drive to town, shop and visit.
Delegate Virginia Mahan D-Summers said "Will this be the year it happens? I can't
predict the outcome. But I do wonder how many lives we have to lose before we have
regulations." West Virginia leads the nation in per capita ATV deaths, and trails
Pennsylvania in the total number of fatalities.
Mahan, chairperson of the House Rule making and Review Committee, said law
enforcement has no authority to stop ATV's from traveling major highways. She cited
an example of an un-helmeted juvenile that recently passed her car on the Sandstone
Grade on I-64. She said reckless driving is the recreational sport for many juveniles.
The bill approved by the committee:
- Require all ATV operators to wear a helmet.
- Ban passengers from ATV's (unless they are built to accommodate them).
- Require juveniles to receive safety training.
- Require ATV operators to obtain permission before riding on other peoples land.
- Ban ATV's from major state and interstate highways.
- Allow county commissions to decide whether ATV's can be used on "less busy"
- Make it illegal to drive vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Allow police to chase ATV operators onto private land, when they are suspected of
- Require ATV renters to supply helmets.
- Establish fines up to $250 for ATV offenses.