Friday, January 27, 2012

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Tell your CO legislators to vote NO to the “OHVs Everywhere Bill”

State Rep. Kevin Priola, representing suburban Brighton, recently introduced an ill-conceived bill – HB 1066 – that would open all county roads (only exempting the 12 most populous counties) to OHVs.   It would also open up nearly all streets in towns with a population of less than 5,000 – over 195 towns including Breckenridge, Manitou Springs, Silverthorne and even urban Glendale, a city of 4,900 completely surrounded by Denver!
The bill permits OHVs such as ATVs (all-terrain vehicles), UTV’s (side-by-side utility vehicles) and dirt bikes to be titled, plated and become street-legal.  Any road with a speed limit of 45 mph or under in one of the affected counties or cities is open.
There are many reasons why this bill is bad news for Colorado:
  • Bad for Conservation – The bill undermines years of land management plans and will lead to unregulated OHV use on national forests and BLM lands aided by 12,000 new miles of county road use, rather than controlled by designated OHV trailheads and routes. This will wreak havoc on Colorado’s national forests and create a law enforcement nightmare. It will bring unwanted noise and disturbance to quiet roads, campgrounds, and neighborhoods throughout Colorado. 
  • Opposed by counties and cities – Both Colorado Counties Incorporated (CCI) and Colorado Municipal League (CML) oppose this bad legislation because it takes away local control and imposes a top-down, one size fits all approach.  Right now, counties and towns already have the authority to designate their roads open to OHVs – this bill takes away their discretion to base decisions on local knowledge and preference.
  • Safety Hazard – create a dangerous mix of cars, trucks and OHVs on public roads at speeds up to 45 mph. National data shows that accidents and fatalities increase with OHV use on public roads. OHV manufacturers have warned against the dangers of operating these vehicles on paved roads and in automobile traffic.
  • Harmful to the Economy - OHV users make up less than 10% of public land users[1]. The human powered, active outdoor industry generates over $10 billion in economic activity and over 100,000 jobs in Colorado[2]. HB 1066 would drive away visitors looking for quiet human-powered opportunities.  
Contact your STATE legislators today and ask them to vote NO on HB 1066!
Then enter your address to the left and select the + next to "legislators" under the “Choose Categories” box. Then select “State House of Representatives” and “State Senators”.  The results should show up below the map. You can also click where you live on the map to ID your legislative district.
For questions or more information, please contact:
Scott Braden, Director of Conservation and Education
(303) 996-2768