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Old March 28th, 2009, 12:55 PM   #1
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Default Kalkaska county approves ORV law

Its from the record eagle. I willl also be posting the rules of this new law which goes into effect APRIL 1ST. I have been talking with the sherriffs office and their will be roads that ORVs cannot be opperated on, right now the only roads in kalkaska county are M72, M66, and US131, the county is also talking about banning county road 612 and county road 571. I will post the law rules shortly.

Published: February 16, 2009 07:00 pm

Kalkaska approves ORV law


KALKASKA -- Kalkaska County adopted a law to allow off-road vehicles to operate on county roads.

County commissioners unanimously voted to approve an ORV ordinance this month, permitting vehicles such as dirt bikes and four-wheelers to run down county roads in the same fashion as cars and trucks, but not on state or federal highways. The law becomes effective April 1.

The law change could mean more tourism revenue and more opportunities for local ORV enthusiasts, some say.

"I think it's a win-win for everybody. It will help the economy and help enthusiasts like us to ride into town and go to dinner and spend money," said Don Marsh, of South Boardman, an avid dirt-bike rider. "It could mean a lot of additional revenue and it opens up the avenues for people to do things."

Ryan Ascione, co-owner of Lakes and Trails Powersports in Kalkaska, believes the new law may boost ORV and equipment sales at his store, as well as sales at other businesses around the county, he said.

"The biggest thing we were looking for is getting through to the motels and gas stations. That makes it just like snowmobiles," Ascione said. "It will take a while to catch on, but it can't hurt, can it?"

ORV riders must have a valid driver's license, obey all traffic laws, wear a helmet and eye protection, be at least 12 years old, and if between 12 and 15 years, posses a state-issued ORV safety certificate, according to the new ordinance. Riders must stay in the far right area in traffic lanes and never travel faster than 25 mph, the law reads.

Not everyone is so pleased with the change.

Jacob Uitvlugt, chairman of the Kalkaska County Road Commission, said the new law poses increased safety risks, a concern among road officials there.

"We just think there may be some safety issues. I think people will get hit," he said. "You take a little four-wheeler and they are a lot smaller. Most of our roads are patrolled, but there's a lot of 60 mph traffic and you get somebody coming over a hill and find somebody on an ORV going 25 mph."

The new law allows county road officials to close up to 30 percent of the county's total road miles to keep ORV riders from damaging environmentally sensitive areas, or to prevent them from riding in dangerous areas with poor visibility. Road officials will consider closing some Kalkaska County roads, Uitvlugt said.

County Commissioner Louis Nemeth lauded the new ordinance "because it allows people to use our trails and allows our residents more mobility."

Townships and the Village of Kalkaska also can close roads to ORV use after a waiting period, Nemeth said.

ORV laws

A law signed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm last July gave northern Michigan counties the option to allow off-road vehicle use on roadways.

Leelanau and Benzie county officials voted against an ORV ordinance, although Benzie officials will consider it again. Grand Traverse County officials also will consider an ORV ordinance, while Antrim County leaders chose not to act on such a measure and instead leave the decision to their townships, officials said.

There are 21 Michigan counties that already adopted ORV road use laws, including all but four Upper Peninsula counties. At least nine other counties have decisions pending, according to the Michigan Motorized Recreation Council.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources sold about 186,000 ORV trail permits last year, officials said.
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