Township to crack down on ATV's

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:43

    VERNON - With temperatures rising, so is the heat on ATV riders. Summer break is the time when kids are encouraged to spend more time outdoors swimming, playing ball, and just roaming free. But ATV riding in the township is a no-no. According to the Township Council, "There is no place in Vernon where it is legal to ride." Citing damage to public and private properties where ATV enthusiasts ride, the council and the Township Police Department have vowed to crack down on riders. But it's not an easy task. State law says an illegal rider must be apprehended in the act, which, said Township Manager Don Teolis, is difficult and risky. Police Chief Roy Wherry said that his men are also restricted in their ability to chase a suspect. In many cases, pursuit is actually prohibited. The law is designed to protect kids who may get injured driving recklessly in a high-speed chase. Also, patrol cars simply can't navigate in the rough and often wooded terrain used by the ATV's. Another problem, Wherry said, is identifying the riders, who are usually wearing helmets that conceal their faces. The town is considering blocking the entrances to areas that have been used by ATV drivers in the past, including the southern part of the Maple Grange tract. "It's a double-edged sword. If (the cops) are in a pursuit and (kids) get hurt, we get sued; if (kids) ride on the town's property, we get sued," said Councilman Neil Desmond. Mayor Ira Weiner said, "It's foolish to buy an expensive item that you can't use in a safe area or productive way."