Resident questions safety of ATVs on county roads

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

GREENCASTLE -- Safety and the age of kids riding all terrain vehicles (ATVs) on county roads was a concern brought before the Putnam County Commissioners Monday morning by Mary Williams.

"I don't live in Greencastle and I drive here every day. I see kids riding these ATVs all over the road. A lot of them are under the age of 16 and somebody is going to get badly hurt," said Williams.

She went on to describe seeing a woman with a small child on the back of an ATV near the Fillmore liquor store.

"That baby couldn't have been more than 18 months old. They weren't wearing helmets. It's scary," she said.

Putnam County has an ordinance concerning off-road vehicles that was approved in 2007.

According to that ordinance, all county roads not in the corporate limits or jurisdiction of a city or town are designated for off road vehicles.

It requires the rider to carry proof of liability insurance at a minimum of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per occurrence for personal injury and property damage. The vehicle must also be registered with the Department of Natural Resources.

Jim Smith with the Putnam County Highway Department commented that Putnam County Sheriff Deputy Tom Helmer reported that since the ordinance went into effect, complaints about off road vehicles had dropped by about half.

"They have to be DNR inspected to be registered. That costs $30 for three years. Not having the registration is reason to have the vehicle confiscated, so parents are being much tougher where their kids ride if they aren't registered," said Smith.

Williams went on to discuss the safety equipment lacking on ATVs.

"These things don't have anything about safety on it. Nada, nada, nada," she said. "No mirrors or anything."

She also questioned why county commissioners approved an ordinance allowing off road vehicles on the road.

"I understand a lot of farmers use them to drive from place to place, but these kids are riding with or two or three on them, no helmets and no safety mirrors. Somebody is going to get hurt," noted Williams.

County Commissioner Gene Beck told Williams they approved the ordinance because they had several large groups of people who wanted to be able to ride on county roads.

"These folks came to several meetings and asked for it. We follow the DNR guidelines," said Beck.

Commissioners promised to look into any safety issues concerning ATV use in the county.

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  • Its simple a few bad apples give everyone a bad name. Don't penalize the riders who obey the rules just step up on enforcement to those who fail to follow the law.

    -- Posted by nascar_Couple on Wed, Aug 5, 2009, at 6:05 AM
  • This lady must not have anything better to do. If there are problems with the riders and the ATV's let the police handle it. Otherwise go buy a 4wheeler and have fun!!

    -- Posted by cowgirlsrule on Wed, Aug 5, 2009, at 7:21 AM
  • Really with all that is wrong in this world and our little county, you choose to complain about ATV's. What about all the drug bust and the children who have been molested recently here in Putnam County. It is amazing that people have so much time on their hands and that there are not bigger more important issues to deal with now days.

    -- Posted by clovermom on Thu, Aug 6, 2009, at 11:41 AM
  • not_a_native go back to where you live and shut up stop causing us issues. We have more important issued to worry about than something that has already been approved, let the law enforcement deal with it.

    -- Posted by lockemup on Wed, Aug 12, 2009, at 2:49 PM
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