ALBANY (AP) — Larger off-road vehicles would be allowed on New York’s public trails under legislation advancing in the state Assembly, which has raised an alarm among environmentalists who say it will lead to more erosion and pollution.
Bill sponsors disagree and say that raising the weight limit from 1,000 to 1,500 pounds for state-registered all-terrain vehicles will put safer, slower machines on trails and roads, while providing more people with access to public land. The width limit would remain 70 inches.
“It’s going to allow a different type of riding,” said Assemblywoman Addie Russell, a Watertown Democrat. It would authorize registration of all-terrain vehicles with side-by-side seating designed for up to three passengers and with seatbelts and roll-over bars. They cost about $15,000 to $20,000, have lower top speeds than currently registered ATVs, and are more likely to be ridden by families and older people, including those with mobility issues, she said.
Russell’s bill, with 10 co-sponsors, has been approved in the past week by the Assembly’s transportation and codes committees.