The Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Ohio Highway Patrol collaborated on Saturday in an effort to educate ATV riders about proper safety and laws. The operation took place near Ohio routes 104 and 348, which OSHP Lt. Edwin Crispen said was a problem area for ATV users.
“We're working the northwest region where we have most of our complaints about ATVs, and we're trying to educate the public up here,” Crispen said. “We get calls from the community all the time out here.”
Most of the calls come from property owners, irritated that ATV riders are passing through their yards and property, causing damages to the forestry and personal property, he said.
“It's just an effort to increase our presence out in this area, and send a pretty strong message that if you're going to ride, ride safe, ride legally, and ride skillfully,” Crispen said.
He said they were stopping offenders mostly, but said if they find a group sitting next to the road, they'll take a moment to talk to them as well.
“We talk to them about wearing safety equipment and their helmets. We talk to them about the laws, and what roads they can and can't ride on, and how to get across the road or how to stay close to the berm. Certainly we talk to them about not driving recklessly on the roads,” Crispen said.
He reminds riders they cannot ride on U.S. or state routes, except to ride across them to get from point A to point B. He said county roads are monitored by the sheriff's office, which were not involved in this operation.
“There are so many situations for county roads. If a farmer needs to make it from his house about two miles down the road from the rest of his farm, and he's just out there doing business ... if he's doing something he probably shouldn't do, we might stop him to remind him to stay close to the edge of the road,” Crispen said.
Mostly, he said, they were targeting reckless joy-riders.
By mid-afternoon Saturday, he said things had been pretty calm, with only a few incidents - mostly riders who failed to produce a valid license or proper ownership of the vehicle.
“We've impounded a few ATVs and things like that, but all in all, it's been a quiet day,” Crispen said.
The operation lasted between the hours of noon and 10 p.m. on Saturday.