ATVs On Streets Are Safety Issue

MOUNDSVILLE – People riding all-terrain vehicles on public streets are causing problems for law enforcement in Moundsville who receive complaints about noise and other disturbances.

According to Moundsville Police Chief Tom Mitchell, ATVs are a hot topic for the city because of Moundsville’s layout – in which city streets border the wooded hillside where people ride their vehicles.

Many ATV calls come from the area of North Highland Avenue, which borders the wooded hillside, where drivers will ride their ATVs on the street from their house to the ATV trails on the hill.

Mitchell said his department often receives calls of ATV riders driving on public streets, but more often residents are calling to complain about the noise than to report reckless driving.

“The complaints we get are from people who turn their ATVs on and make noise on their way to the trail,” Mitchell said. “It’s an annoyance thing.”

Moundsville law states ATV riders may drive on the shoulder of a road at 25 mph or less only to transport an ATV to a trail or back. Unless the ATV is designed for multiple people, only one rider is allowed on the vehicle. ATV riders must also use headlights and taillights if riding after dark.

Mitchell said the city’s laws are patterned after West Virginia code. Because ATVs are not designed to be ridden on hard surfaces, people who drive ATVs on the street can also be seriously hurt or killed if they do not follow basic safety standards, according to Mitchell.

“We have cited people for riding ATVs if someone gets injured,” Mitchell said. “If people obey the rules, there shouldn’t be an issue.”

However, the majority of complaints police get about ATVs are issues with noise or disturbing surrounding residents. Mitchell cited an incident when a few ATV riders were driving in circles on a dirt lot in a city neighborhood and were stirring up so much dust neighbors couldn’t sit on their porches.

Although the ATVs weren’t riding illegally, police explained to the drivers that they could be cited for disturbing the peace.

Mitchell said he understands ATV riding is a part of life in the area that many people enjoy, but it has to be done safely.

“You can ride irresponsibly and have an issue,” Mitchell said. “Everybody is responsible for their own safety.”