Senate tweaks off-highway vehicle law

Shutterstock Image by Phillip Rubino

A bill to make slight clarifications to last year’soff-highway vehicle (OHV) law unanimously passed the New Mexico State SenateWednesday (Feb. 8).

The revised law, SB 51aa sponsored by Senate MinorityCaucus Chair Steve Neville (R – Aztec), allows off-highway vehicles to drive on paved roadsunless prohibited by localauthorities. It also makes clarifications thatinclude:

  • Operators on paved roads shall be subject to the requirementsunder the Motor Vehicle Code.
  • Operators under 18 to wear a safety helmet that complies with the Off-HighwayMotor Vehicle Act. (Act) .
  • Operators must wear eye protection that complies with the Act.
  • Provides local entities the ability to issue license plates ratherthan the current stickers.

The bill has moved to the House Transportation & Public Works Committee.

Red River Marshal David Smith, who helped craft a Town Ordinance following the first bill’s passage last year, said the proposed legislation “pretty much codifies into state law what we did with our ordinance. [It] just tightens up some looselanguage. I am anxious to see if it passes.”

With guidancefrom the state Department of Transportation, Red River’s Town Council passed an ordinance Aug. 23, 2016, allowing the use of Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles (ROHV)such as side by sides, mules, Razrs, etc.,inside town on Main Street (NM 38) betweenCaribel on the west side of town and Jayhawk Trail on the east side of town. The ordinance prohibits parking on Main Street in town.

Smith said last year, in accordance with state law, “ATVs are not allowed. ATVs are any straddle-seat vehicles or handle bardriven vehicles.”

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