ANDERSON — The use of all-terrain vehicles will be legal on Madison County roads following approval of an ordinance by the Madison County Commissioners.
The commissioners voted 2-1 on Tuesday to make legal the use of ATVs on all county roads. Commissioner Mike Phipps cast the no vote, wanting to limit where the vehicles could be used in the county.
There were no comments against the adoption of the ordinance by the public except that insurance agent Mike Gaskill requested a change in insurance liability requirements.
County attorney Ashley Hopper said several changes were made to the ordinance following previous discussions by the commissioners.
The ordinance will require ATV owners to have liability insurance in the amount of $25,000 per person, $50,000 per incident and $25,000 for property damage.
As first proposed, the county would have required liability insurance coverage of $25,000 per person and $100,000 per incident.
Hopper said the original $100,000 coverage would be for personal injury and property damage.
“It would be less confusing,” Gaskill said of the change that was adopted by the commissioners.
Hopper said the penalties for illegal use of ATVs on county roads will be $100 for a first violation, $250 for a second violation and $500 for each subsequent violation of the ordinance.
The use of snowmobiles on county roads is prohibited except when a snow emergency is declared by the commissioners.
Hopper said the legal use of snowmobiles will be allowed when a “yellow” snow emergency alert is issued.
The ordinance also requires at least one working headlight and taillight on ATVs.
“I’m concerned about traffic on county roads,” Phipps said.
He made a motion to modify the ordinance to allow ATVs to be used for agricultural purposes only, which failed because there was no second.
“Elkart County and one southern Indiana county have similar restrictions,” Hopper said. “The county can restrict use on particular roads as an option under the ordinance.”
Commissioner Steffanie Owens said she sees people riding on ATVs every day.
“They will use them no matter what we do,” she said. “This increases safety.”
The proposed ordinance does not include golf carts.
Hopper said she reviewed several other county ordinances as they pertained to registration, licensed drivers, age, lighting requirements and other safety equipment.
Provisions of the proposed ordinance include: Use 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset; riders under the age of 14 are required to wear a helmet; a valid driver’s license is mandatory; operation under the influence of alcohol or drugs is prohibited; transporting a loaded firearm or bow is prohibited; and a working muffler is required.
In the central Indiana area only Tipton, Carroll, Cass and Miami counties have legalized the use of off-road vehicles.
Their use is legal in about half of Indiana’s 92 counties, predominantly in those counties south of Interstate 70.