Senate Passes Bills to Expand Use of ATVs

February 29, 2012

The New York State today passed two bills aimed at making it easier for drivers to register and use all terrain vehicles (ATVs), especially for agricultural use.

Legislation (S.3318), sponsored by Senator Patricia A. Ritchie (R-C, Heuvelton), raises the legal weight limit for registering ATVs from 1,000 pounds to 1,500 pounds.  This would allow new, larger vehicles, known as utility vehicles (UTVs), to be registered in New York State.  These types of vehicles can currently be registered in other states, such as Pennsylvania, that receive the sales tax revenues from purchases.

“By failing to allow UTV registrations, New York is turning away a growing and important segment of our outdoor recreation and tourism trade, and costing businesses that depend on tourism money and jobs,” Senator Ritchie said.  “More and more couples want to explore the outdoors together, and do so in the comfort and convenience that these vehicles provide,” Senator Ritchie said.  “But in order to operate them legally, owners are heading out of state, sending their tourism and recreation dollars elsewhere when our communities need them here.  This bill tells tourists that we welcome them to explore and enjoy New York’s outdoors.”

The Senate also passed a bill, sponsored by Senator Michael F. Nozzzolio (R-C, Fayette), which allows farmers to expand the use of ATVs on some public highways (S4673A).  To maintain public safety on  the roadways, the bill provides significant limitations for the use of ATVs on public highways.  

The bill would allow farmers to use ATVs on public roads in the same manner they use other motor vehicles. The bill provides farmers with increased opportunity to use ATVs in their farming operations, including on public roads, unless the ATV’s use would prove hazardous to general motorists. 

“This bill would allow for the use of ATVs by farmers to go from one part of their farms, onto a public highway, and back on to another part of their farm,” Senator Nozzolio said.  “This activity is necessary for many farmers who are growing crops and generating jobs and revenues for the state and local economy.”

The bills have been sent to the assembly.