Pennsylvania toughens ATV, snowmobile driving registration law

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HARRISBURG, Pa. – A new Pennsylvania law will require all ATVs to be registered with the state’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, except for ATVs used solely for farming or business.

ATVs used solely on the owner’s land will be provided a free, one time registration with no expiration, and a license plate to be affixed to the ATV.

The law is designed to crack down on illegal ATV riding, said department secretary John C. Oliver.

“With the increased popularity of ATVs, we’ve seen more instances of people riding where they shouldn’t be on our state forest land and have received many complaints about illegal riding on private lands.

“Although we have 188 designated trail miles for ATVs, we probably have 10 times that number in illegally cut trails going across sensitive areas of our forests and through our streams,” Oliver said.

Beginning Oct. 23, virtually all new and existing ATVs used for recreation in Pennsylvania must be registered and all new or transferred snowmobiles be titled with the state’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

The new law. Specifically, the new law requires:

* ATV owners to carry liability insurance, except for ATVs used solely on the owner’s property. Previously only snowmobilers had to carry liability insurance;

* Snowmobiles to be titled, except those purchased before the new law. The old law required only ATVs to be titled. The titling fee is $22.50;

* Proof of registration to be carried on the ATV, except for those riding on their own land. Owners must display a registration plate and expiration sticker on the ATV and a registration decal on the snowmobile;

* An increase in fines and penalties from $25-$100 to $50-$200 for first offense and from $50-200 to $100-$300 for subsequent offenses;

* An increase in weight limit for Class I ATVs from 600 to 800 pounds. Class II vehicles weight class will be unlimited. Class I vehicles are the only ATVs allowed on state land; and

* The creation of a 17-member ATV/Snowmobile Advisory Committee. Under the old law, the scope of the committee was limited to snowmobile trails.

The weight-limit increase is effective immediately. Most of the remainder of law will go into effect Oct. 23, 2001.

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