Local police department reminds public of ATV, bike laws and ordinances



TAUNTON — Chief Edward J. Walsh and the Taunton Police Department would like to remind all community members of all-terrain vehicle and bicycle laws in Massachusetts, and encourage motorists to be courteous on roadways.

In recent weeks, the Taunton Police Department has received an increase in reports of youth operating all-terrain vehicles and bicycles in erratic manners on public roadways. Similar reports have been seen across the Commonwealth.

Taunton Police issued a statement reminding community members that those operating in any prohibited hazardous operation not consistent with the rules of the road will be cited by the department.

Chapter 405 of the City of Taunton’s Code of Ordinances states that the prohibited hazardous operation of recreational vehicles, including ATVs and bikes, includes:

-riding a recreational vehicle with its front wheel, rear wheel or side wheel raised from the surface of the road or ground while operated in any public space.

-riding with feet or knees planted on the seat while operating in any public space.

-operating such vehicle in a manner commonly associated with trick or stunt riding.

-operating any recreational vehicle wearing a facial mask between March 15 and Nov. 15 of any year or any other time when the ambient air temperature is 45 degrees or greater measured on the Fahrenheit scale.

The city police department has the authority to enforce any provision of this ordinance and to promulgate rules and regulations necessary to implement and enforce this ordinance. Penalties for violating these ordinances include a $300 fine, when applicable, with each day constituting a separate offense.

The department also has the authority to impound any recreational vehicle found in violation of this ordinance, especially if it impedes traffic, threatens public safety or there is a danger of vandalism and/or property damage to the recreational vehicle. To read more about the ordinance, click here.

To ensure all motorists know ATV and bicycle laws, along with the rules of the road, the department offers the following information courtesy of the Massachusetts Environmental Police:

-No person under 18 years of age shall operate a recreation vehicle or recreation utility vehicle (all-terrain vehicles, off-highway motorcycles, dirt bikes, etc.) unless they have successfully completed an approved recreation vehicle safety and responsibility course.

-No person ages 14 to 16 shall operate an all-terrain vehicle or a recreation utility vehicle with an engine capacity greater than 90 cubic centimeters. When operating such vehicles 90 cubic centimeters or less, persons ages 14 to 16 must be directly supervised by an adult.

-The following are some examples of the prohibited operations of recreation vehicles or recreation utility vehicles:
Operation of a recreation vehicle or recreation utility vehicle while on public ways or upon or across a controlled-access highway is strictly prohibited.

1. Operating at an unreasonable, improper, or unsafe speed for existing conditions. Also, failure to come to a complete stop when crossing an approved public way (must yield to motor vehicle traffic).

2. Operating a vehicle that emits noxious fumes or makes excessive noise.

3. Operating on the land of another without the written permission of the owner, or operating within 150 feet of a residence without permission of the owner.

When operating a recreation vehicle or recreation utility vehicle, motorists must:

-Wear a helmet at all times.

-Have an adequate braking system and an adequate muffler designed to reduce unusual or excessive noise and noxious fumes.

-Have a vehicle equipped with one or more headlights, red rear light and red rear reflector when operated after sunset.

-Be registered through the Massachusetts Environmental Police as out-of-state recreation vehicle registrations are not valid in the state.

Bike Laws
In Massachusetts, you may ride your bicycle on any public road, street, or bikeway except on limited access or express state highways where signs specifically prohibiting bikes have been posted.

When riding bikes, community members should be mindful of the following information:

-You must obey all traffic laws and regulations of the Commonwealth, including using hand signals and giving pedestrians the right of way.

-You must use a white headlight and red taillight or rear reflector if you are riding anytime from a half-hour after sunset until a half-hour before sunrise.

-If you are 16 years old or younger, you must wear a helmet that meets U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission requirements on any bike, anywhere, at all times. The helmet must fit your head and the chin strap must be fastened.

-You may not carry a passenger anywhere on your bike except on a regular seat permanently attached to the bike, or to a trailer towed by the bike.

-You may not modify your bike so that your hands are higher than your shoulders when gripping the handlebars.

Community members should note that violations of any of these laws can be punished by a fine of up to $20. Parents and guardians are responsible for cyclists under 18. The bicycle of anyone under 18 who violates the law can be impounded by the police for up to 15 days.

Anyone with questions or concerns is encouraged to contact Taunton Police at 508- 824-7522.

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