[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Bridgewater 10-16-1978 by Ord. No. 78-30; amended in its entirety 6-16-2003 by Ord. No. 03-11. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter shall be to set standards for the operation of certain motor-driven off-road vehicles within the Township of Bridgewater so as to improve public safety standards as well as to minimize the impact of operation of such vehicles on residents of the Township, the public at large, and to reduce injury to the environment, drivers, passengers and bystanders.
The motor-driven off-road vehicles subject to this chapter are the following: motor-driven vehicles designed primarily for transportation of the driver, including without limitation motorbikes, minibikes, trailbikes, unlicensed motorcycles, mopeds, motor scooters, guards, go carts, dune buggies, all-terrain vehicles and any other recreational vehicles when same are motorized and used for transportation of the driver.
Any person who shall own an off-road vehicle, as defined in § 205-2, and who uses same or permits same to be used anywhere within the boundaries of the Township of Bridgewater shall, prior to such operation, register such vehicle with the Bridgewater Township Police Department. A person wishing to register an off-road vehicle shall complete a certified and sworn application, the form of which may be established by the Police Department, which application shall include but shall not be limited to the following information: the name and address of the registrant and, where applicable, the year, make, type, model, color, horsepower and serial number of the vehicle being registered. In the case of an applicant under 18 years of age, a letter from his or her parent or guardian must accompany the application, giving the parent's or guardian's name and address and consent to the application. Each registrant shall pay a fee of $10 which shall be used to defray the costs of enforcement, administration of this public safety program, and registration. Upon acceptance of the application and fee, the Bridgewater Township Police Department shall issue an operating certificate bearing the registration number and date of issue, which operating certificate shall be prominently and clearly displayed on the vehicle. The registrant shall also be given a copy of this chapter, and, in the case of registrants under 18, a copy also shall be sent to the parent or guardian who has signed the consent letter described above.
The initial registration period shall commence January 1, 1979, and it is intended that all owners shall have registered their vehicles and complied with this chapter not later than March 1, 1979. Subsequent to March 1, 1979, individuals acquiring such vehicles shall have 10 days from the effective date of such acquisition within which to register said vehicles. Thereafter, the registration shall be renewed annually prior to the last day of the month in which the original registration was issued. A renewal fee of $10 shall be paid at that time.
In the event the license is lost or becomes illegible, a replacement shall be obtained within 10 days from the Police Department. A replacement fee of $10 will be charged at this time.
The owner of an off-road vehicle which has been properly registered under Title 39, Motor Vehicles and Traffic Regulations of the New Jersey Statutes, shall not be subject to the registration requirement of this chapter except that the vehicle owner shall furnish proof of such registration on a form which may be established by and obtained from the Police Department. In addition, the vehicle owner shall show proof of insurance and identify the off-road areas within the Township that the off-road vehicle will be traveling, and the days and hours of operation proposed, and place of storage when not in use. If at any time such state registration expires or becomes invalid, the owner of the off-road vehicle shall comply with the registration provisions of this chapter within 10 days from the date of such expiration or invalidity.
It shall be unlawful to operate or allow to be operated any off-road vehicle anywhere within the Township of Bridgewater under the following circumstances:
Any off-road vehicle which is unregistered under either Title 39 or under § 205-3 of this chapter.
On private property of another person or party without the express written permission to do so by the owner; said written permission must be carried in the vehicle while operating on the property and exhibited to police officers on request.
On any public street, sidewalk, or bicycle path within the Township of Bridgewater; provided, however, that vehicles registered under Title 39, Motor Vehicles and Traffic Regulations, of the New Jersey statutes shall be regulated by that statute.
On any public lands including but not limited to parklands, right-of-ways, dedicated open spaces, public easements, ball fields, hiking or walking trails, or lands registered as those maintained or owned by the Township of Bridgewater, the County of Somerset or the State of New Jersey.
In the manner creating loud or unusual noise so as to disturb or interfere with the peace, quiet or health of other persons.
Without any muffler device or, in the case of vehicles with two cycle engines, without any spark arrestor.
In a careless, reckless, or negligent manner so as to endanger, or likely to endanger, the safety of the operator, passenger, animals, wildlife or bystanders or the property of any person.
Between the period of time occurring 1/2 hour before sunset and 1/2 hour after sunrise.
Without the use by the operator and any passenger, while the vehicle is in operation, of an approved helmet and leg and arm protectors and goggles. This section does not apply if the operators or passengers are in an enclosed or caged vehicle.
On privately owned lands closer than 100 feet to the boundary with adjacent lands owned or leased to a person or entity different from the privately owned lands, except where the adjoining property owner(s) provides written consent authorizing the operation of the vehicle in proximity to the adjoining property line, which said consent shall be in possession of the vehicle operator.
For registrants or unregistered operators 18 years of age or over, violation of the provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be punishable by a fine of not more than $500 or by imprisonment in the county jail for a term of up to 90 days, or both. In the case of violations of trespassing or operation of the off-road vehicle in violation of § 205-4 the police may, regardless of the age of the operator, in addition to issuing a summons, also immediately confiscate the off-road vehicle used or operated in violation of this chapter. The vehicle will may be returned to the registrant by the Municipal Court upon completion of registration as set forth in § 205-3, if required, and upon payment of any towing or removal costs and/or any court-ordered fines. Failure of an owner to pay a fine to register an off-road vehicle or to pay towing charges for six or more months after a vehicle has been confiscated by the police shall cause the ownership of said vehicle to be forfeited, and said vehicle may be auctioned or sold or otherwise disposed of by the Township and the owner shall have no further recourse.
In the event that the provisions of this chapter are violated by an operator or a registered owner of the vehicle who is, at the time of such violation, under the age of 18, such violation will result in the following:
For the first violation, the operator shall be warned by the police, and a letter shall be sent separately to the parent or guardian signing the consent letter for the registrant. The letter shall state the offense and describe the penalties for violation. A copy of this chapter shall be included with the letter to the parent or guardian. Alternatively, the enforcement officer may elect to give a warning directly to the operator and if the operator is under 18 years of age there is a mandatory requirement that at least one parent or guardian be in attendance.
If within 90 days the vehicle in question is again operated in a manner which is found to be in violation of this chapter (not necessarily the same offense), the parent or guardian signing the consent letter of the registrant shall be subject to the penalties described in § 205-5A, and the vehicle shall be subject to court ordered uses and conditions.
Upon second or subsequent conviction for violation of this chapter by the same registrant or involving the same vehicle, the court may order possession of the vehicle in question be surrendered to the police for a period not to exceed 90 days for each violation or if the violation is sufficiently severe, may order the vehicle forfeited or otherwise disposed of.