OLYMPIA -- State Sen. Jerome Delvin applauded the Senate's passage today of a measure aimed at producing less cumbersome and more responsible off-road vehicle (ORV) access to public roads.
Delvin worked with other legislators, representatives of the Washington State Patrol, outdoor enthusiasts and conservationists state-wide to produce Engrossed Second Substitute Senate Bill 5366, which passed the Senate by a vote of 41 to 5.
"Removing the barriers to using and enjoying off-road vehicles is very important to the people of the Tri-Cities," said Delvin, R-Richland.
"I am pleased we were able to work with all stakeholders involved to reach a balance that allows access to public roads in a safe and responsible manner while also providing funds for road maintenance and safety."
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Under Delvin's measure, a person would be allowed to operate a four-wheel ATV on any roadway having a speed limit of 35 miles per hour or less, provided the operator and the ATV meet certain requirements.
For instance, the operator may not operate the vehicle on state highways; may not operate the ATV within a city with a population of 15,000 or more unless the city has adopted an ordinance approving the operation of ATVs on city roadways; must have obtained a current and proper registration, display a license plate and have paid the annual vehicle license fee of $30; must have a valid Washington driver license or a valid driver license issued by his or her state residence; must be insured under a motor vehicle liability policy; and, must ensure the ATV has a headlight, tail light, brake light, reflectors, turn signals, a mirror on both the left and right handlebar, a windshield (if the operator does not wear glasses, goggles or a face shield), a horn, spark arrestor, muffling device, brakes and fenders.
Delvin's bill also would create a multi-use roadway safety account within the state's motor vehicle account, into which all revenue from the annual license fee from ATVs would be deposited.
The state Department of Transportation would make grants to counties for safety engineering analysis of mixed-vehicle use on their roadways and to local governments for signs notifying the motoring public that ATVs are present.
"This bill is a good step forward, and I believe it represents a good balance between all concerns," Delvin said.
The bill now goes to the House of Representatives.