Police Remind Public Unauthorized Riding of ATVs Remains Illegal

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Riding ATVs is a fun hobby for many Pennsylvanians. State police, however, are not amused by their use on quieter-than-normal public roads in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. (FILE PHOTO)

Streets that are normally filled with traffic may be nearly deserted due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but that doesn’t mean laws that prohibit the use of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) on them aren’t in effect, Pennsylvania State Police said last week.

Following reports of riders taking to public roads during the state’s COVID-19 shutdown, police issued a reminder that state law prohibits the operation of ATVs and snowmobiles on all public roads and highways. 

In a news release police noted that there is an exception which allows for the operation of ATVs and snowmobiles during “certain emergency situations.” However, the exception requires the approval of the Department of Transportation and/or local jurisdictions.

Police said no such approval has been given at this time.

“The Governor’s Disaster Declaration for the COVID-19 health emergency does not allow for the operation of ATVs or snowmobiles on the roadways of Pennsylvania,” state police said.

They added that outside of private property, ATV riding is only permitted on designated trails in state forests. State forest roads, state parks and state game lands are not open for ATV use.

Lower Saucon Township Police Chief Tom Barndt echoed what the state police said in their press release. Fortunately, Lower Saucon has not had any issues with illegal use of ATVs during the COVID-19 pandemic, Barndt said.

“I would ask people to abide by the governor’s Stay at Home Order and not put our first responders at any further risk,” Barndt said.

More information about rules and regulations that pertain to ATV use in Pennsylvania can be found on the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources website.

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