By Robert Dengel, Mountaineers member
The Washington State legislature is considering an Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) bill that has support from members of both the environmental and ORV communities, SSSB 5366. In short, the bill allows ORV riders increased access to roads, but prohibiting their use in undesignated areas. This is a bill that Conservation Northwest has put a lot of effort into improving.
The bill would allow ORVs (specifically quads) on roads which have a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less in areas with smaller populations. There are a host of safety measures called out in the bill that an ORV rider must meet to use the roadway, including: a) a driver's license, b) large license plates, c) retrofitted lights (turn and stop signals), d) helmets and e) insurance. This is a similar set of safety measures already in place for dual sport motorcycles, which can currently be used on and off-road. One concern is that this bill would allow ORVs access onto non-ORV areas more easily, even though access to those areas would still be unlawful. However, the large license plate will make it much easier to hold accountable those ORV riders who choose ride irresponsibly in areas where ORVs are not allowed.