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Increased use of ATVs on Rockford streets

Rockford police saw an increase ATV riders on area roadways, which is against the law in Illinois.
Published: Jul. 1, 2021 at 7:01 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Rockford police warn ATV drivers to stay off Illinois roads and streets or face serious consequences.

The Rockford Police Department posted an announcement on social media Wednesday which said that according to Illinois law, ’any motorized, unlicensed vehicle on the street is illegal.’ RPD said the number of calls related to these vehicles illegally on the road increased. ATVs aren’t mean for road use, they are meant for trail use.

Officer Matthew Williams said some of the reasons ATVs can’t operate on the streets are they don’t have the required equipment or proper safety equipment, their tires differ from regular vehicles, and they don’t have all the necessary lights. They also aren’t registered, don’t have insurance, and sometimes the drivers are younger than the legal driving age.

“These people typically cause damage, drive recklessly which causes other cars to have incidents and then they leave the people driving holding the bag basically and liable,” said Williams.

Since the start of the pandemic, Hammertime Sports Owner Spencer Hammer said sales almost doubled. However supply chain issues struggle to keep up with the high demand for ATVs/off-road vehicles, so dealers experience a shortage of vehicles. Hammer said he makes sure his customers are aware of the law.

“The biggest thing at the dealership level we can explain to the customer even during the sales process is ride to your limits. as far as Don’t push it too far, ride to your experience level,” said Hammer.

Hammer added users can help maintain their off-road vehicle by taking it in for regular oil changes and monitoring the tire pressure.

Police said they need the community’s help to provide them with information such as their address, the direction they are traveling, a description of the person using it, and the type of vehicle.

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