As the 2021 session of the Kentucky General Assembly ended this week, a bill pertaining to Off-Highway Vehicles (OHV) was passed.
Originally presented as Senate Bill 75, the bill did not meet the required time threshold as stipulated in the legislative rules.
“SB 75 was rolled into SB 215 which was an omnibus transportation bill,” said 31st Dist. state Sen. Phillip Wheeler. “In doing so, the bill met the rules requirements.”
SB 215 allows OHVs to travel on state highways to get from one portion of a trail to another section of the trail.
“Moving the bill into SB 215 allowed other lawmakers to have input which actually made it a stronger bill,” Wheeler said. “For example, Dist. 84 Rep. Chris Fugate added language to open this up to not only side by sides but also certain ATVs as well, giving everyone the opportunity to ride and enjoy the trails.”
SB 215 is a pilot program and is set to be revisited in 2024 at which time, changes to the rules, if any, can be addressed.
In the original SB 75 bill, there were fees associated with riding a OHV on state roads but in SB 215, those fees were taken out.
“The fees for highway permits are gone,” Wheeler said. “That was a source of some contention and was put in the original bill at the request of the state highway department.”
While the road permit fees are out of the bill, the requirement to maintain liability insurance remains to ride on a state highway.
“In Pike County, there are 15 miles total of state road access needed to connect certain areas of the trail,” Wheeler explained. “That’s a total of 15 miles meaning it could be a tenth of a mile in one place and perhaps a half a mile in another location.”
Wheeler said the work that was done between the legislative branch and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet was great.
“They really worked with us to get the language correct to meet their requirements,” Wheeler said. “And we had fabulous bi-partisan cooperation and support in both chambers to get this bill passed.”
SB 215 has moved to the Governor’s desk for his signature. No word on when Governor Andy Beshear may sign the bill but if he doesn’t sign it, it will automatically become law after 10 days.
As of presstime, Beshear hadn’t signed the bill.