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Rules of the Off-Road, ATV Safety

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB)-Two deaths in as many weeks in ATV accidents in Western Mass, and two teens were sent to the hospital over the long holiday weekend for injuries from a crash as well.

If you plan to use an off-road vehicle this season, there are state regulations and safety tips you should know.

Off-road vehicles are meant to be fun, but they could become dangerous if you don’t understand the equipment. Ralph DeLuco, General Manager at Springfield Motor Sports shows us how to pick out the right one depending on age.

“It has its own label of 16, so you have to be 16 and older to ride the 300 cc,” DeLuco says as he refers to a larger, red ATV in the corner of his store.

When you have the right one, keep in mind the basic safety tips and proper riding procedures.

“You should wear helmets, you should wear gloves,” DeLuco adds.

There’s no set speed limit for ATV’s in Massachusetts, but the Environmental Police inform us that you have to be reasonable and consider all conditions.

“Is it a bright sunny day like today or pouring rain, is it gravel conditions on a flat surface or going up mud on an incline?” these are questions tor consider, Captain Scott Amati, of the Environmental Police explains.

It’s important to know where to legally ride. Operating on private property is allowed with the landowner’s written permission. And the state has six locations to go, four are in Western Mass: Beartown State Forest, October Mountain State Forest, Pittsfield State Forest and Tolland State Forest.

Since 2010 number of ATV accidents have noticeably decreased. Captain Amati says, Sean’s Law is to thank; signed in memory of Sean Kearney who died from injuries while riding an ATV.

The regulations make Massachusetts the toughest law in the nation regarding children’s safety and off road vehicles. It requires those under 18 years old to take a safety certificate program.

“the other portion is there are substantially increased fines with it,” Amati says.

Fines from &25-75 , may now be $250 with potential up to $1000.

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