The Bethel Police Department is stepping up it’s enforcement on All-Terrain Vehicles, or ATVs, laws in the city, starting now.
Bethel Police Chief Burke Waldron provided a refresher on basic ATV rules of the road on the AM radio show "Coffee At KYUK" last week.
“We will be being more visible in the public with our ATV enforcement,” said Waldron.
The increased enforcement is a way to do three things: make road traffic safer in Bethel, maintain pedestrian safety, and reduce the amount of dust in the air. Police are beginning with safety reminders.
“The lack of helmets, minors operating, several minors without helmets, you know you see four-wheelers sometimes with three and four kids riding as passengers. And then just educating the public on the rules about insurance and registration,” Waldron said.
And the rules? An ATV operator must be licensed and insured. Minors can drive ATVs, but only with their parental guardians within 100 feet of them at all times. They can be driven with a 15 mile-per-hour speed limit on city roadways, but not on the highway.
“They’re illegal to operate on the highway,” said Waldron. “They’re not supposed to be within 3 feet of the shoulder unless they’re crossing the highway, which has to be done perpendicular to the road.”
The Bethel Police vehicle enforcement thrust also includes cars and trucks. As a former State Trooper, Chief Waldron has seen firsthand the need for children to be in car seats.
“I’ve been in law enforcement now for over 27 years, and the first fatal car crash I ever responded to involved an infant and I still remember it today,” Waldron said. “I see a surprising number of automobiles and cars in this town with infants and toddlers standing on the seats of the vehicles and sitting on parents' laps.”
Waldron stressed that this, too, is a basic vehicle safety issue that he wants the public to be aware of.
“Collisions as low as 15 miles an hour can be fatal to an infant and toddler, so as well as the ATV traffic, I’m here to make people aware of the seriousness of child seats, educate them on some of the requirements for child seats, and also let them know we’re gonna be paying attention,” said Waldron.
For more information on ATV road laws and child seat safety, contact the City of Bethel Police Department.