[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Board of Trustees of the Township of Lawrence 1-10-2019. Amendments noted where applicable.]
An ordinance regulating the operation of off-road vehicles (ORVs) on certain public roads, and to permit the operation of an ORV in compliance with this chapter on roads which are designated for such use on a master map duly adopted by the Lawrence Township Board of Trustees; and to set forth the regulations regarding the operation of ORVs on public roads in Lawrence Township for the purpose of providing penalties for the violation thereof, and for the distribution of public funds resulting from those penalties for the violation thereof pursuant to 2008 P.A. 240, MCLA § 324.81131.
As used in this chapter, the following definitions shall apply:
- DIRECT SUPERVISION
- The direct visual observation of the operator with the unaided or normally corrected eye, where the observer is able to come to the immediate aid of the operator.
- DRIVER LICENSE
- An operator's or chauffeur's license or permit issued to an individual by the Secretary of State under Chapter III of the Michigan Vehicle Code, 1949 PA 300, MCLA §§ 257.301 to 257.325, for that individual to operate a vehicle, whether or not conditions are attached to the license or permit. A suspended or revoked license or permit does not constitute a valid driver license under this chapter.
- To ride in or on, and be in actual physical control of the operation of an ORV.
- A person who operates or is in actual physical control of the operation of an ORV.
- A motor-driven, off-road recreation vehicle capable of cross-country travel without benefit of a road or trail, on or immediately over land, snow, ice, marsh, swampland, or other natural terrain. ORV or vehicle includes, but is not limited to, a multitrack or multiwheel drive vehicle, or ORV, a motorcycle or related two-wheel, three-wheel, or four-wheel vehicle, or other means of transportation deriving motor power from a source other than muscle or wind. ORV or vehicle does not include a registered snowmobile, a farm vehicle being used for farming, a vehicle used for military, fire, emergency, or law enforcement purposes, a vehicle owned and operated by a utility company or an oil or gas company when performing maintenance on its facilities or on property over which it has an easement, a construction or logging vehicle used in performance of its common function, a registered aircraft, an amphibious machine or a ground-effect, air-cushion vehicle.
- A primary road or local road as described in Section 5 of 1951 PA 51, MCLA § 247.655.
- ROAD COMMISSION
- The Board of County Road Commissioners for the County of Van Buren.
- SAFETY CERTIFICATE
- A certificate issued pursuant to 1994 PA 451, as amended, MCLA § 324.81129, or a comparable ORV safety certificate issued under the authority of another state or a province of Canada.
- The Township of Lawrence.
An ORV may be operated on roads within the Township, subject to the conditions and limitations stated herein.
A person may not operate an ORV on any road designated as closed to ORV operation on the Official ORV Map referenced in § 29-10. Notwithstanding the above, a person may operate an ORV on a closed road for the purpose of accessing the nearest open road from a residence which cannot be more than one-half-mile from said open road. This does not apply to state and federal highways, roads exempt from opening by state statute, roads closed by action of the Van Buren County Road Commission, roads closed by order of law enforcement officers, and roads bordering municipalities which have not authorized the use of ORVs on public streets under MCLA § 324.81131 or other applicable law, including but not limited to Red Arrow Highway, and I-94. Operation of an ORV on those roads is not permitted under any circumstance.
The Van Buren County Road Commission, Law Enforcement, and other state agencies and entities with power to close public roads located within the Township may close said roads to the operation of ORVs otherwise authorized pursuant this chapter.
Except as set forth herein or otherwise provided by law, an ORV meeting all of the following conditions may be operated on a road or street in the Township:
At a speed of no more than 25 miles per hour or a lower posted ORV speed limit.
By a person not less than 16 years of age.
With the flow of traffic and as follows:
On the right shoulder of the road.
If there is not a right shoulder or the right shoulder is not of adequate width, on the right unmaintained portion of the road.
On the far right of the right traffic lane of the road, if necessary to cross a bridge or culvert and if the operator brings the ORV to a complete stop before entering and yields the right-of-way to an approaching vehicle on that traffic lane.
In a manner which does not interfere with traffic on the road or street.
Traveling single file except when overtaking and passing another ORV.
Displaying a lighted headlight and lighted taillight.
Operation hours: one-half hour before sunrise until one-half hour after sunset.
While the operator and each passenger are wearing a crash helmet and protective eyewear approved by the United States Department of Transportation unless the vehicle is equipped with a roof that meets or exceeds standards for a crash helmet and the operator and each passenger are wearing a properly adjusted and fastened seat belt.
With a rear-viewing mirror.
With a throttle so designed that when the pressure used to advance the throttle is removed, the engine speed will immediately and automatically return to idle.
With a United States Forest Service-approved spark arrester and muffler in good working order and in constant operation.
Pursuant to noise standards defined by law.
Obeying all other laws relating to the operation of a vehicle in public streets, including but not limited to following turn signal requirements, yielding to traffic, etc.
There is no operation of an ORV on sidewalks, trails, or other surfaces designed for pedestrian travel. There is no operation of an ORV in a public park or other space customarily used by pedestrians.
While the operator is in possession of a valid driver license.
A person less than 18 years of age shall not operate an ORV on a road in the Township unless they are under the direct supervision of a parent or legal guardian and the person has in his or her possession an ORV safety certificate or a comparable ORV safety certificate issued under the authority of another state or a province of Canada.
In a court action in this state, if competent evidence demonstrates that a vehicle that is permitted to operate on a road or street pursuant to the Michigan Vehicle Code was in a collision on a roadway with an ORV that is not registered under the Michigan Vehicle Code, the operator of the ORV shall be considered prima facie negligent.
Editor's Note: See MCLA § 257.1 et seq.
Any person found to have violated this chapter by a court of competent jurisdiction is responsible for a municipal civil infraction under Chapter 25, Municipal Civil Infractions, of the Code of the Township of Lawrence.
The Township shall maintain a master map of all roads under its jurisdiction upon which shall be indicated those roads and parts or sections thereof which the operation of ORVs is permitted and prohibited pursuant to this chapter. Such map shall be known as the "Official ORV Map," and the master copy shall be kept at the Lawrence Township Town Hall. The Township shall make a copy of the ORV Map available to interested groups or organizations to make copies for distribution to the general public, but shall have no obligation to make, or to assume any expense associated with the making of, such copies. The official ORV Map on display at the Township Hall shall govern in the event of a dispute.
Agricultural use of an ORV falls under state regulation MCLA § 324.81122.
The Township Treasurer shall deposit fines and damages collected for violations of this chapter into a fund to be designated as the "ORV Fund." Township Board shall appropriate revenue in the ORV Fund as follows:
Fifty percent to the County Sheriff or Police Department responsible for law enforcement in the local unit of government for ORV enforcement and training.
Fifty percent to the County Road Commission to be used for repairing damage to streets and the environment that may have been caused by ORVs and for posting signs indicating ORV speed limits or indicating whether streets are open or closed to the operation of ORVs under this chapter.
This chapter shall cease to be effective and the permissions granted herein revoked two years after its effective date.