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Local News

Barry County Commissioners on April 12 unanimously approved an ORV ordinance that allows ORV riding on many county roads, a first for Barry County.

It goes into effect Sunday, May 1.

"I'm excited for the implementation of the ORV ordinance for the residents of Barry County. It will be a tremendous recreational benefit," said the main sponsor of the ordinance, Commissioner David Jackson.

"I hope ORV riders will be overly safety conscious with the implementation on May 1. Barry County residents will get used to seeing ORVs on the roadways, but I can't emphasize enough caution in the early going.

"County residents have done a fine job with bicycles, joggers, horses and mopeds and I'm sure ORVs will be no exception, but a little common sense on where you ride your ORV will go a long way toward the safety of all Barry County residents," he said.

"My recommendation would be stay on the gravel roads where ORVs are best suited, and avoid roads that are known for fast paced traffic and limited sight distance," Jackson said.

The ordinance, patterned after an Ionia ordinance and tailored for Barry County, has several things that riders need to know, including where they can ride with a properly outfitted ORV.

A current ORV sticker, crash helmet and protective eye wear are required, not optional as with motorcycles. ORVs are required to have a mounted side view mirror to see traffic approaching from behind.

The county website has an online map of where ORVs can ride in Barry County and a list of roads where it is permitted, however the map can and will change as townships and the Barry County Road Commission weigh in on roads that may be excluded for safety reasons.

It is the rider's responsibility to check the map and be aware of the roads that are closed to ORV traffic.

For example, the Barry State Game Area and Yankee Springs State Recreation area are closed to ORVs.

Although some of the primary county roads through the game area are currently open, ORVs will be ticketed $250 to $500 maximum for riding off the primary roads onto the back trails through the state game area.

The game area and the Paul Henry Trail are zero tolerance areas. If riders go on the closed roads, they can expect to get a ticket. ORVs are also not allowed to operate in any city or village in the county.

The complete ORV ordinance is posted on the county website, www.barrycounty.org. Click on the Data Center tab.

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