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Off-road vehicles gain new access to West Virginian roads

New law allows many off-road vehicles to be modified for paved and painted streets
Off-road vehicles
Off-road vehicles(Zach Shrivers)
Published: Jun. 24, 2020 at 9:48 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va (WTAP) - Off-road vehicles like side-by-sides have been given new opportunities on the roadway in West Virginia. Thanks to the passage of Senate Bill 690, off-road vehicles are now allowed on most roads that have a posted speed limit of 55 miles per hour or less. However, they still aren’t allowed on interstates. They are also supposed to be modified to be “street legal.”

“Which means they have the lights, as far as headlights, taillights, blinkers, mirrors, all the safety equipment. They can now get them registered basically the same way you do a motorcycle.” said Wood County Sheriff’s Deputy, Lieutenant Rick George.

George says there’s at least fourteen different items listed by SB 690 for an off-road vehicle to be street legal. But once a vehicle has been modified, it could open a lot of opportunities for off-road fanatics.

“I think it’s going to be an advantage to everyone who lives out in rural communities especially,” said Eric Barrett, the general manager of Lemon and Barrett’s Powersports. “It’ll be an advantage for people to go place to place legally and they won’t have to have anyone chasing after them.”

While there is some excitement for these off-road vehicles to become on-road vehicles, retailers are feeling a little confused on how some of the modifications are supposed to be done. Despite the law being in effect, retailers say there has been little guidance on how some of them are supposed to be done. Barrett says he knows to go on-road, each vehicle will have be registered with a license plate, but he isn’t sure where that’s suppose to happen.

“We’re kind of in the dark. We got on and read the bill. We know it’s 55 mph roads and under, we know that there’s a tag available. We know some generalities about it, we just don’t know... do we apply for the tag or do they go to the DMV and apply for the tag?” said Barrett.

WTAP reached out to the West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles after meeting Barrett. A representative says they are working on guidelines for retailers and will have them out to the public soon.

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