The state Senate has again passed a bill supported by Senators Patty Ritchie and Joseph Griffo that would allow registration of ATV’s weighing up to 1,500 pounds.
The bill has had strong support from St. Lawrence County sportsmen’s clubs and municipalities.
The bill (S.1946-A) would raise the weight limit for ATVs to 1,500 pounds, from the current 1,000 pounds, an outdated limit that has prevented virtually all of the side-by-side units, knows as UTVs, from being legally used on trails in the state.
According to a press release from the Senators, a companion bill in the State Assembly has been moving through committees after a long stall, and could come to a vote later this week, before the scheduled end of this year’s legislative session.
The bill is currently in the Ways and Means Committee.
“State leaders are going all out to encourage New Yorkers to explore the great outdoors, but outdated laws prevent them from using UTVs that are wildly popular in every other state in the nation, to visit the ever-increasing network of trails that are being designed and built especially for these vehicles,” Sen.r Ritchie said in a released statement.
“As a result, state and local governments are losing out on millions of dollars in sales tax and registration revenue, small business owners are losing out on tens of millions of tourist dollars that could be spent at gas stations, restaurants and hotels, and New Yorkers are losing out on an opportunity to explore and enjoy our great outdoors,” said Sen. Ritchie who represents portions of St. Lawrence County including Canton, Ogdensburg and Gouverneur.
"New York is giving mixed messages to outdoor enthusiasts. On the one hand, we advertise heavily to promote the wonderful opportunities in the Tug Hill Region and North Country. On the other, we're discouraging use of UTVs, which are very popular with older riders. It's past time we started giving tourists a consistent message: New York's trails are open for business - and we'd love for you to buy, register and enjoy your side-by-side here," said Sen. Griffo, who represents parts of St. Lawrence County including Massena, Norfolk and Potsdam.
Under the bill, only UTVs that hold up to three riders, properly equipped with seat belts and other safety equipment, would be allowed on trails. The Assembly sponsor insisted that the popular four-seaters would continue to be banned, even if they met the 1,500 pound weight requirement, a release from Ritchie said.