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state and local update


ATV riders will be able to travel from Roxbury to Rumford, Woodstock, Peru, Dixfield, Byron, Andover, Carthage and Mexico Trails, thanks to a new trail that opened in July. Riders also can access additional Roxbury ATV Riders club trails farther north.

Funds for the trail came from memberships, a municipal grant and a $10,000 Polaris Trail grant.

More information is available from the club at


Gov. Mike Parson signed H.B. 1963, which gives motorcyclists 26 or older freedom of choice regarding helmet use while riding. To ride without a helmet, though, motorcyclists must provide proof of health insurance and have an “M” endorsement on their driver’s license.

The new law takes effect Aug. 28.


Two bills were introduced in the state legislature on the topic of distracted driving.

S.B. 279, from state Sen. Tina Maharath (D-Canal Winchester), would expand the current law for minors to all drivers, prohibiting hand-held device use and making it a primary offense. Currently, adults texting while driving may be cited only if they are stopped for another reason.

S.B. 285, introduced by state Sens. Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard) and Sean O’Brien (D-Bazetta Township), would make comprehensive changes to the state’s distracted-driving laws based on recommendations from the Ohio Department of Transportation Distracted Driving Task Force.

The bill would restrict all hand-held e-device use and make use of devices a primary offense. It would add incremental penalties for repeat offenses.

The bill would add to the existing offenses of vehicular homicide and vehicular assault the new offense of “vehicular harm.” It also would make device use violations a “strict liability” offense, meaning the driver’s intentions are not relevant. This provision addresses the defense of “but s/he didn’t mean to crash.”

S.B. 285 also calls for distracted-driving instruction in driver’s education courses.


The state Department of Natural Resources issued a notice reminding ATV riders of the new restrictions that went into effect this year. The new laws for ATVs affect passenger requirements, headlamps, operational requirements, vehicle legal definitions and more.

ATV operators cannot have a passenger riding in or on any part of an ATV that is not designed or intended to be used by passengers. Previously, this law only applied to roadways. Aftermarket seating does not comply with the law.

Low-pressure tires are no longer required. Instead, the only requirement is three or more tires. ATVs are required to be commercially designed and manufactured, and their width cannot exceed 50 inches, measured between the outermost wheel rims.

ATVs and UTVs must now have a lighted headlamp and tail lamp during operation, regardless of time of day or location.

ATV operators born on or after Jan. 1, 1988, who are at least 12 years old, must complete an ATV safety certification course, unless riding is restricted to private property owned by operator’s immediate family.

Full details are available at