PRINCETON— Tourism generated by the Hatfield-McCoy Trail have made ATVs and UTVs common sights along local roadways, but there are still regulations limiting exactly which roadways they can take.
The Princeton Police Department recently reminded motorists that ATVs and UTVS cannot be operated on the city’s streets.
Even though the West Virginia Legislature passed a bill, West Virginia State Code 17A- 13-1, allowing these vehicles to operate on the state’s roadways, certain classes of cities, counties and the state Department of Natural Resources have the right to restrict them.
Princeton city ordinances prohibit the operation of ATVs on the city’s roadways, according to a statement issued by the police department. State ATV regulations are similar to the code which allows municipalities to restrict aerial fireworks even though the state allows them.
In the City of Bluefield, the use of vehicles that are not tagged, licensed or insured is prohibited, according to City Attorney Colin Cline.
“A properly-registered, titled and insured special- purpose vehicle as provided in the recent SB (Senate Bill) 690 would be legal in Bluefield,” Cline stated.
The bill covers the use of special-purpose vehicles, which includes ATVs and UTVs, in West Virginia.
Some municipalities in Mercer County and neighboring McDowell County allow ATVs to travel on designated streets. In Bramwell, ATVs riders using the nearby Hatfield-McCoy Trailhead off U.S. Route 52 can use designated routes, Mayor Louise Stoker said.
“It works well for us,” Stoker said. “But before the trail was opened, the Bramwell Town Council did all the paperwork: where they’re going to ride, on what streets yes, on what streets no. We have a certain route through town to get to the trail. Street signs had been put up before the trail opened. We do have a large lot at the end of Main Street where they can park, get out and walk around, enjoy the history and eat on Main Street; and by and large, the riders respect that.”
ATVs and UTVs travel up and down Route 52 between Bluewell and the trailhead at Bramwell, but how far they can travel down that highway is limited. Chief Deputy Joe Parks with the Mercer County Sheriff ‘s Department said that the vehicles can be on roadways that are within 10 miles of a trailhead.
— Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline. com