A weekly column by Police Chief Steven Wojnar of the Dudley Police Department
Week of August 16, 2020
Four-wheel vehicles, dirt bikes, go – carts, or snow mobiles in the winter, can be seen traveling on or along public ways from time to time. This is an issue during the summer months, when children are out of school, the weather is nice, and many people are out riding. The current COVID-19 situation only adds to these opportunities, as people seek various forms of recreation. These vehicles are not allowed to operate normally on the streets without the appropriate registration requirements. I was asked to provide people with some information about these vehicles traveling on the roads.
Most of the recreational vehicle laws are covered by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90B. These vehicles are generally restricted to off road travel and there are registration and other laws of use in place which promote their safe operation. One, which applies to the operation of recreational vehicles on the roads, is under Chapter 90B Section 25. This section addresses their ability to travel across roadways. Recreational vehicles must come to a full and complete stop before crossing any road. When they cross, they must do so in a fashion which is as direct as possible. They must not interfere with the free movement of vehicular traffic on the road and they must yield the right of way to all vehicular traffic when making the crossing. The penalty for a violation of this law is a maximum $100 fine or up to sixty days in jail or both.
These vehicles are also prohibited in such places as rail trails and conservation areas. People operating in these locations are trespassing and criminal charges could apply. This is particularly true if damage occurs or if places, such as wetlands, are disturbed. Recreational vehicles are fun. I used them myself in my younger years. They need to be operated in the proper locations while exercising the appropriate safety precautions. The best practice is to use caution, operate in the correct locations, wear proper equipment, and always be aware of your surroundings. This will best prevent accidents, damage, and injuries.
In addition to the coronavirus Pandemic, there is a great deal of turmoil taking place in our state and around the country. We continue to serve the people of Dudley and work with the community to improve the quality of life for everyone. With so much discussion around police reform taking place, there are several documents posted on our Facebook page which can serve as a source of information for people. I continue to thank the men and women from my department for their continued dedicated service to the Town of Dudley during these trying times. Thanks also go out to the many Police Officers, Fire and Emergency Services members, public works, government and all other “essential” personnel for their continued hard work and service. We greatly appreciate the support we receive from our community.
Thanks again for your questions and comments. Please send them to me at the Dudley Police Department 71 West Main St., Dudley, Ma. 01571 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Opinions expressed in this weekly column are those of Chief Wojnar only and unless clearly noted, do not reflect the ideas or opinions of any other organization or citizen.