By Bob Weaver

The West Virginia Legislature's ATV bill seems to be muddier than last year, with the current version being sent to a sub-committee for further study. "I think the only purpose of sending it to subcommittee is to kill it..." said Delegate Barbara Fleischauer-D of Monongalia. It now has a stack of proposed amendments.

The main bill would have required helmet use, required ATV operators to have a valid driver's license to operate on a paved road, and would require property owner's permission before driving on private land. It would also have banned ATV's from major roads and DNR managed areas.

The final decision regarding where and when ATV owners could ride secondary or back roads would have been left to each county commission. One legislator said it would create an "enforcement nightmare" from county to county. An ATV rider crossing county lines could quickly get in trouble, even on the same road.

Delegate Rick Thompson-D of Wayne said the bill would require an ATV owner to wear a helmet if he was mowing grass, but ignore a man on a farm tractor.

Landowners expressed opposition to parts of the bill, which required laws to be applied to ATV owners on their own property.

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