State Sen. Patricia Ritchie, R-Oswegatchie, is urging sportsmen, seniors and every New Yorker who enjoys the great outdoors to sign her online petition to allow side-by-side UTVs to be legally registered in the state.
The petition can be found at ritchie.nysenate.gov.
More than 2,000 members of the public — from across New York state and as far away as Tennessee, Florida and California — have already signed the petition calling on the Assembly to pass Ritchie’s bill (S.1946).
Most signers indicated that they were ATV owners.
Ritchie’s bill cleared a key legislative hurdle Tuesday when it was approved by the Senate Transportation Committee. The full Senate is expected to act on the bill in the next few weeks.
New York is the only state in the nation that does not allow UTVs to be legally registered and, while the Senate has approved Ritchie’s bill each year for the past three years, the Assembly has failed to act even once.
“Side-by-sides, or UTVs, are increasingly popular among seniors, families and outdoor enthusiasts, and prohibiting their use is hurting our tourism industry, cheating us of an opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors, and depriving state and local governments of millions of dollars in registration and tax revenues,” Ritchie said.
“I’ve heard from thousands of outdoors enthusiasts who are travelling outside the state to get around New York’s outdated rules,” she said.
“I’m pleased that the Transportation Committee has shown its support for this measure and am hopeful that the Assembly will act on this common-sense reform,” Ritchie said.
State law allows only ATVs up to 1,000 pounds to be registered for use in New York. That limit excludes virtually all side-by-side models, which have become increasingly popular especially among families and seniors.
Dealers in other states say the side-by-side models now account for more than 40 percent of sales — meaning the state is losing out on significant registration revenue, taxes from the sales of these vehicles, and hundreds of millions of dollars in increased tourism spending by UTV enthusiasts.