January 18th, 2010
Let's face it. Unless you live in rural America and own a large tract of land, there is no place for all-terrain vehicles (ATV's). Here in New Jersey, with a population density of 1,134 people per square mile, ATV's are a fish out of water.
New Jersey's Assembly and Senate recently approved a bill which would regulate ATV's, while at the same time creating three parks for ATV's and dirtbikes. Governor Jon Corzine, whose last day in office is today, is expected to sign the bill into law as he packs up his belongings. If he doesn't give it his John Hancock, incoming Governor Christopher Christie no doubt will enact ATV laws in the near future.
New Jersey prohibits dirt bikes and ATV's from all public lands, which includes state parks, preserves, utility power lines, and roads. Unfortunately, many riders have thumbed their noses at the law and police regularly have cat and mouse pursuits of scofflaws. Many municipalities, including here in Middle Township, Cape May County where we live, have had to purchase ATV's and train officers to catch the illegal riders.
The new ATV regulations going into effect would require all owners to register their machine within six months. New vehicles have to be registered to take delivery. The cost will be $50, plus a $10 surcharge to help fund the three riding parks. The fine for getting caught without a registration will be $500. Since the ATV's and dirt bikes would now have license plates front and rear, police and the public should have no problem spotting unregistered vehicles.
There are 85 ATV and dirt bike dealers listed in New Jersey. There are 25,000 riders, according to estimates. Acquiring three riding parks will probably be difficult. They'll have to be located away from populations, wetlands, and water. Presumably, they'll locate one each in North Jersey, Central Jersey, and South Jersey. Hopefully, the 1.1 million acre Pinelands will be off-limits in the South.
The root of ATV problems can often be traced to condescending parents, who buy their kid a dirt bike or ATV even though there is nowhere to legally operate it. Soon a bunch of kids are tearing through private property, destroying gates and fences and rutting footpaths to the point that they are unwalkable. The ruts also hold water, making ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes. And then there are the idiots who chase deer and other wildlife. Irresponsible adults are as often to blame as teenagers for the many transgressions of riders.
That said, ATV's aren't all bad. In West Virginia, where we also own a log home on 19 acres, ATV's are permitted on any road that is not a "numbered highway". That makes zipping down to the neighbors for a cup of coffee as easy as hopping on your machine, which many have parked right outside the front door. But West Virginia has just 75 folks per square mile (6% of NJ) and plenty of families own 100-acre tracts. Riding in a National Forest, however, still results in confiscation of the ATV if caught.
Let's hope that New Jersey's new ATV laws put an end to the illegal trespassing that so many riders feel is their inherent right. This is a chance to legitimize their hobby.
- Mountain Man and City Girl
The blogsite of Jewell Real Estate Agency, Wildwood Crest, NJ http://www.JewellRealEstateAgency.com
::As for my disclaimer to avoid the hatemail in my inbox tomorrow::
None of the above is my views or opinions was cut and pasted from a unrelated website to this one (club700xx.com)