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ATV class requested in Morgan County

February 11, 2005|by TRISH RUDDER

trishr@herald-mail.com

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - The WVU Extension Service in Morgan County wants to offer an all-terrain vehicle safety course, the county agent said Thursday.

Bob Knight told the Morgan County Commission on Thursday that additional education for ATV safety was offered in Berkeley Springs last year and was well received. Knight said his office worked with the West Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, law enforcement and health officials.

Knight said new ATV licensing regulations became effective Jan. 1. The new state regulation provides that riders younger than 18 must pass free, state-certified safety courses. Knight said the new regulation mandates a sticker be placed on the driver's helmet.

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County Commissioner Tommy Swaim said "Morgan County rules are different than the state rules - they go beyond."

The county ordinance does not allow ATVs along public roads, he said.

"Only crossing a public road at a 90-degree angle is allowed," Swaim said, "where there is no obstruction preventing a quick and safe crossing providing that the operator has a valid driver's license."

Knight said the Department of Motor Vehicles offers a "20-minute video ... but the WVU course can help teach the kids."

Commission President Glen Stotler asked "Can you go into the schools and talk about this?"

Knight said that WVU in Morgantown, W.Va., tried to get ATV education into the school system "but the school superintendents chose not to put this into the system."

Stotler said perhaps the Morgan County Commission in conjunction with the school system might work.

"They could work together," he said.

Swaim said there were more than 30 ATV-related deaths statewide last year. Stotler said the commission is receptive to working with the WVU Extension Service and the Morgan County Board of Education to present this safety course to kids.

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