[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Copake 5-14-1987 by L.L. No. 3-1987. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to protect the public health, welfare and safety by regulating the operation of off-highway vehicles within the Town of Copake in a manner which will minimize detrimental effects of such use on the environment and to prevent accidents and unauthorized use of such vehicles on private lands and public highways.
As used in this chapter, the following words shall have the meanings established below:
- The entire width between the boundary lines of any right-of-way or traveled way or place when any part thereof is open to the use of the public, as a matter of right, for the purposes of vehicular traffic. This term includes state highways, county highways, town highways, by both dedication or use, private roads and public parking lots.
- MUNICIPAL PROPERTY
- Real property owned, leased or used by the Town of Copake or any governmental agency.
- OFF-HIGHWAY VEHICLES
- Any self-propelled vehicle which is manufactured and sold for operation primarily on areas which are not public highways, having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel with wheels in contact with the ground, and shall include such vehicles as are commonly known as "motorcycles," "minibikes," "trail bikes," "all-terrain vehicles" and "mopeds," but shall not include such vehicles which are intended to be utilized and actually utilized primarily for agricultural, business, gardening or property maintenance purposes and shall not include snowmobiles.
- To ride in or on, other than as a passenger, or to use or control the operation of an off-highway vehicle in any manner, whether or not said off-highway vehicle is underway.
- Every person who operates or is in actual physical control of an off-highway vehicle.
- Any person having title to an off-highway vehicle. If an off-highway vehicle is sold under a contract of conditional sale whereby the title remains in the name of the vendor, such vendor or his assignee shall not, after delivery of such off-highway vehicle, be deemed an "owner" within the provisions of this section, but the vendee or his assigns shall, upon receipt of possession thereof, be deemed such "owner" notwithstanding the terms of said contract, until the vendor or his assignee shall retake possession of such vehicle. A person holding only a security interest in an off-highway vehicle shall not be deemed an "owner" unless such person has possession of such off-highway vehicle.
- That portion of the highway which lies outside the paved or unpaved roadway, immediately adjacent to the portion of the roadway which may be used by motor vehicles.
It shall be unlawful for any person to drive or operate any off-highway vehicle on private lands or municipal property within the Town of Copake without written permission of the owners or occupants of said private lands or written permission of the authorities having control of said municipal property. Said written permission must be in the possession of the persons operating the off-highway vehicle and must be presented, upon demand, to any peace officer or police officer so demanding.
It shall be unlawful to operate any off-highway vehicle in a careless, reckless or negligent manner so as to endanger, or be likely to endanger, the safety or property of any persons, including the operator of said vehicles.
It shall be unlawful to operate any off-highway vehicle at a rate of speed greater than is reasonable and prudent.
It shall be unlawful to operate any off-highway vehicle within 100 feet of any dwelling other than the dwelling house of the owner or operator.
It shall be unlawful to operate any off-highway vehicle on any highway or highway shoulder. Such vehicle may make a direct crossing of a street or highway, at any time of day, provided that:
The crossing is made at an angle of approximately 90° to the direction of the highway and at a place where no obstruction prevents a quick and safe crossing;
The vehicle is brought to a complete stop before crossing the shoulder or main traveled way of the highway;
The driver yields the right-of-way to all oncoming traffic on the highway; and
Crossings made between the hours of 1/2 hour after sunset or 1/2 hour before sunrise, or under conditions of reduced visibility, shall be made only with both front and rear lights on.
It shall be unlawful for any person under the age of 10 years to operate an off-highway vehicle. No person under the age of 16 years shall operate an off-highway vehicle except upon lands owned or leased by his parent or guardian, unless that person is under general supervision of a person 18 years of age or over or a person 16 years of age or over who holds an ATV Safety Certificate as defined by the Vehicle and Traffic Law of the State of New York. "Leased lands" as herein used shall not include lands leased by an organization of which said operator or his parent or guardian is a member.
A person 10 years of age but less than 16 years of age who has received safety training as prescribed by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles and has received the appropriate All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Safety Certificate issued by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles may operate an ATV in the same manner as a person who is 16 years of age or older. Any parent or guardian who authorizes or knowingly permits his child or ward, if under 16 years of age, to operate an off-highway vehicle in violation of this subsection shall be guilty of a violation of this chapter. Any owner of an off-highway vehicle who authorizes or knowingly permits a child under age 16 years to operate said vehicle in violation of this subsection shall be guilty of a violation of this chapter.
It shall be unlawful for any person to operate or to knowingly permit the operation of an off-highway vehicle which has not been properly registered and numbered in accordance with the requirements of the Vehicle and Traffic Law of the State of New York.
It shall be unlawful for any person to operate an off-highway vehicle while pulling a person on skis or drawing a sleigh, sled, toboggan or trailer which carries or transports any person unless attached by a rigid support, connection or towbar.
It shall be unlawful for any person to operate an off-highway vehicle unless it is equipped with brakes in good operating condition, a muffler system in good operating condition, a spark arrester, tires having at least two-thirty-seconds of an inch of tread with no visible breaks, cuts, exposed cords, bumps or bulges and a lighted white headlight and red taillight approved by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles, when operated during the period 1/2 hour after sunset to 1/2 hour before sunrise. It shall also be unlawful for any person to operate an off-highway vehicle while displaying one or more flashing lights, except that this provision shall not apply to an authorized emergency off-highway vehicle, police or civil defense off-highway vehicle.
It shall be unlawful for any person to operate an off-highway vehicle unless he is wearing a protective helmet of a type which has been approved by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles.
Any peace officer or police officer having jurisdiction within the Town of Copake who shall encounter a person operating an off-highway vehicle in violation of this chapter and who is unable to produce proof of ownership of such off-highway vehicle may cause said vehicle to be removed and impounded.
After the removal of any vehicle as provided for under Subsection A above, the town may store or cause such vehicle to be stored in a suitable place at the expense of the owner.
The owner or the duly designated agent of the owner of such vehicle may redeem the same upon payment to the person with whom stored of the amount of all expenses actually and necessarily incurred in effecting the removal and storage of said vehicle.
[Amended 6-13-1996 by L.L. No. 1-1996; 7-12-2007 by L.L. No. 3-2007]
Any person, firm or corporation who is guilty of a violation of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be subject to a fine of not more than $250 or imprisonment for a term of not more than 15 days, or both. Each day after notice that a violation continues shall be deemed a separate offense. The failure to pay such fine may result in the impounding of the offending off-highway vehicle until such fine is paid. In addition, a civil penalty of $100 per day may be assessed for any such violation, which civil penalty shall be recovered by the Town of Copake in a civil action.
Three convictions of a violation of this chapter within a continuous eighteen-month period may also result in the impoundment of the offending vehicle for a period not to exceed 90 days. Such off-highway vehicle may, after 90 days, be redeemed by the owner after paying towing and storage fees and after paying an impounding fee, as set forth from time to time by resolution of the Town Board, to the Town Clerk.
Except as provided otherwise by law, such a violation shall not be a crime, and the penalty or punishment imposed therefor shall not be deemed for any purpose a penal or criminal penalty or punishment and shall not impose any disability upon or affect or impair the credibility as a witness, or otherwise, of any person found guilty of such an offense.
Appropriate actions and proceedings may be taken at law or in equity to prevent or remedy unlawful violations or infractions of any portion of this chapter, and these remedies shall be in addition to penalties otherwise prescribed by law.
Nothing shall be construed to limit, repeal, modify or waive any existing provision or requirement of law or regulation, whether federal, state or local; but, on the contrary, this chapter and the provisions herein shall be in addition to any present law or regulation relating to the subject matter set forth herein.