Starting Oct. 1, individuals can ride all-terrain vehicles legally on Putnam County roads.
With a unanimous vote from Commissioners Jim Baird, Gene Beck and Kristina Warren, the county ATV Ordinance received unanimous approval on Tuesday night.
They set Oct. 1 as the effective date to give ATV owners time to register their vehicles with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, and to notify local law enforcement of the new ordinance.
About 15 people supporting the ordinance quietly awaited the commissioners' decision, and no one spoke against the measure, which has been under consideration since spring.
Each commissioner said they had received phone calls both in favor and opposed to the ordinance.
Warren said some people have concerns about ATV riders on the heavily traveled Manhattan Road.
Baird said he has heard about damage to the roads, primarily from irresponsible people doing "doughnuts" which rut the county roads.
"But they do that anyway," Warren said of joyriders spinning circles in the roads.
While the commissioners have noted they could make certain county roads exempt from the ordinance, that might be more trouble than it's worth.
"It could be problematic to start picking roads," Baird said.
They agreed the law will be in effect for all county roads.
State roads can only be crossed at a 90-degree angle by an ATV rider. Riders can also utilized the right-of-way running along the side of state roads, according to state code.
Keith Hutcheson, who has represented a group in support of the ATV law, said DNR will give stickers to registered vehicles that should be visibly posted on both sides of the ATV. The registration and proof of insurance could be kept with the ATV at all times, he said.
Warren pointed out that the visible stickers will make it easier for police to see which vehicles are in compliance with the ordinance without having to stop each ATV rider seen on a county road.
In other business considered Tuesday, the commissioners:
* Heard a request from Heritage Lake resident Mary Williams for the county to help erect directional signs so motorists can find their way to Heritage Lake using the county roads. The commissioners agreed the sign project could be reviewed.
* Directed a Heritage Lake property owner to consult an attorney about his property concerns with an old road now underneath the lake.
* Approved advertising construction observation for old Bridge 159 so the restoration project on the now-defunct bridge can proceed.
* Changed their Oct. 1 meeting time to 9 a.m. at the courthouse annex.