Florida

Florida

Recent Legislative Action

2007

Title XXIII, Chapter 316.2074: Amended to require that children under 16 take safety classed before riding ORVs (2007: Enacted)

Community Voices Demand Action in Florida

Floridians are increasingly voicing their concerns about a growing contingent of reckless riders who break the law, damage public and private land, injure themselves and others, and ruin hunting, fishing and hiking experiences for the rest of us.

  • "The trail represents untold possibilities for mischief...Another example is the constant running of 4 wheelers up and down the trail in complete defiance of the law and utter disrespect for the many houses that are right on this trail. One group of 4 wheelers even cut a city-owned lock on a fence so that they could get through to the Kiwanis Park area." -- Laura Donaldson, Lake Wales property owner, "City trail just leads to mischief", The Lake Wales News (10/25/08)
  • "How much can we take?" -- Nancy Ross, Bartow resident responding to a new ORV park, "County OKs Off-Road Vehicle Park", The Ledger (10/8/08)
  • "The ATV issue in Keystone Heights continues to escalate...The issue is truly a boiling pot and Senator [Evelyn] Lynn is receiving a number of very angry calls." -- Frankie Robert, Senator Evelyn Lynn staffer, "ATV issue in DEP hands", Bradford County Telegraph (7/17/08)
  • "This is an ongoing nuisance problem. They are trespassing and tearing up the land." -- New Smyrna Beach police Sgt. Eugene Griffin, "New Smyrna police crack down on off-road trespassers", East Volusia News-Journal (5/31/08)
  • "We've just got to keep pursuing it. There's no reason not to. It just gets worse every year." -- Neill Herring, "Satilla River: Is it an ATV 'highway to trespass?'", The Florida Times-Union (6/2/08)
  • "They're a nuisance...They come flying through not paying any attention or not caring that folks are trying to fish." -- Milton Edy, Savannah native on his family fishing trip, "ATV riders violating law, destroying habitat", The Florida Times Union (6/7/08)
  • "We've seen dramatically increased numbers of ATVs. It's also the type of riding people do - the mud-bogging and the creation of really wide trails. The damage has caused a lot of different problems." -- Marsha Ward, Biologist, "ATV riders banned from wildlife areas", South Florida Sun-Sentinel (6/28/08)
  • "The operation of motor vehicles to travel upon the lake beds is an improper use no matter how you wish to look at it. The upland owners are... tired of being awakened in the middle of the night by parties where they should not occur in the first place." -- Harry Hazen, "Residents want unruly off-roaders kept out of nearby lake beds", The Florida Times Union (6/30/08)

Examples of Recent ORV-Related Law Enforcement Activity

Source: United States Forest Service

2008

  • NFs in Florida - On 9/19, an LEO received a report of illegal OHV activity in the North Prairie area which is closed to vehicle travel. The activity was reported to occur during the late evening and night hours. The LEO deployed a ground sensor which was monitored throughout the weekend. As a result, violation notices were issued to two OHV operators who drove in the area.
  • NFs in Florida - On 9/28, an LEO/K9 team was checking a restricted road with heavy OHV activity in the Seminole RD and stopped a vehicle traveling towards him at a high rate of speed. A strong smell of burnt marijuana came from the vehicle. The driver stated he was driving to an area where he always hunts. After further investigation, marijuana residue and paraphernalia was located in the vehicle. The man was issued citations for possession of marijuana and being in a closed area.
  • Ocala NF - On 3/22, an LEO employed a ground sensor in an area where motor vehicle travel is prohibited. As a result, several violation notices were issued to drivers of pickups and ATVs.
  • Apalachicola NF - On 3/14, an LEO observed a jeep covered in fresh wet mud traveling on an NFS Road. The LEO stopped the vehicle after it accelerated and failed to stop at a stop sign. The officer smelled the odor of alcohol emanating from the vehicle. The driver stated that there may be some beer in the vehicle that belonged to his father and consented to a search. Approximately 10 beer bottles were found in a cooler in the vehicle. All the occupants were under the age of 21. The driver and one passenger were juveniles and given warnings for possession/consumption of alcohol under 21 and released to their legal guardians. The front seat passenger (a legal adult) was issued a violation notice for possession/consumption of alcohol.
  • NF's in Florida - On 2/8-10, LEO's investigated complaints of ATVs and OHVs in FS restricted areas, on public and NFS roads, and accessing NFS lands through private land. The LEO stopped drivers of two ATVs transporting small children without helmets. The drivers were cited for allowing a person under the age of 16 years of age to ride without a helmet.
  • Apalachicola NF - On 1/5, an LEO was advised by a Leon County SD (LCSD) Deputy that there had been an ATV accident in the Forest and they were searching for the victim. The victim reportedly suffered serious injuries, including a broken collarbone and head injuries, but fled from the scene of the accident due to an outstanding arrest warrant. The LCSD located the individual at a friend's house.
2007
  • Ocala NF - On 11/3 - LEO's and FWC responded to a report of a large party on the Forest and observed vehicles mud-bogging in a lake. Several people at the party were minors in possession of alcoholic beverages. LEO's wrote a total of 14 citations for violations including for mud bogging, possession of marijuana, minor in possession of alcoholic beverages and supplying alcoholic beverages to minors.
  • Seminole RD - On 10/13, LEO's received a report from Lake County SD Deputies of a mud-bogging party on the Seminole RD. The LEO's contacted a large group that had entered an area restricted to motor vehicles and was mud-bogging in the wetlands. Numerous citations were issued for operating a motor vehicle in a restricted area and operating a motor vehicle in a manner that disturbs the land.
  • Lake George RD - On 9/23, an LEO responded to an OHV/motorcycle accident on the Lake George RD. The motorcycle rider was transported to a hospital with a compound wrist fracture. The ATV rider had a bruised shoulder and refused medical attention. Florida HP responded to conduct an accident investigation. The ATV rider left the scene but was later located at the Rodman Pitt parking area.
  • On 7/22, an LEO went back to the scene of the Ivan Fire to further investigate and heard ATV's in one of the nearby wetlands. The LEO investigated and stopped seven ATV's with eight riders. All seven drivers were cited for driving off road in a manner that damages or unreasonably disturbs the land, wildlife or vegetation. Six of the drivers were under 16 years of age and not wearing helmets, and were cited for those offenses under state law; one operator was also cited for having a passenger, a violation of state law. Parents of one of the juveniles showed up but did not interfere. The LEO escorted them all to the nearby home of one of the juveniles and warned them against driving ATV's on public roads in the future. A total of 14 violation notices were issued.
  • Ocala NF - On 6/26, LEO's and FPO's from the Ocala NF attended Magistrate Court to address 83 new cases and 13 carryover cases. Several people went before the Magistrate Judge and pleaded guilty to violations including DUI and possession of a controlled substance. A 16 year-old boy pleaded guilty to having an OHV in a restricted area and was sentenced to serve 15 hours community service. A man pleaded guilty to ATV off designated trails, ATV on public road, and failure to register his OHV. He was sentenced to pay a $605 fine as this was his second time in court for the same three violations. Fines were paid by 30 people in lieu of appearing before the Judge. Two cases were set for trial at a later date. Nine arrest warrants were issued for individuals that failed to appear.
  • Ocala NF - On 1/4, LEO's attended two court trials that included charges for threatening and intimidating a Forest Officer. The incident occurred on 8/20/06. On that date, LEO's responded to a call for assistance from an FPO who had contacted a group of OHV riders to give out information. The riders yelled, swore at, and intimidated the FPO until she left the location and contacted the LEO's. The LEO's contacted the riders at the same location, but they were still noncompliant. The LEO's issued violation notices to them. The defendant at the first trial was found guilty of possession of alcohol where prohibited and threatening and intimidating a Forest Officer. The second defendant, prior to his trial for threatening and intimidating a Forest Officer, operating an OHV on a public road (two counts), and failure to title an OHV, changed his plea to guilty. Both defendants were sentenced to pay substantial fines.

Recent ORV-Related Media Coverage



Hunting, off-road vehicles will be allowed in sections of Big Cypress

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Written by Sun Sentinel   
Wednesday, November 24, 2010

David Fleshler

A vast sweep of forest, swamp and prairie west of the Broward County border will be opened to hunting and off-road vehicles, with part of the land protected as wilderness, under a plan announced Tuesday by the National Park Service.

The Addition Lands of Big Cypress National Preserve are among the most argued-over pieces of real estate in South Florida. Purchased from private owners and added to the preserve in 1988, the 230 square miles of territory straddle Alligator Alley and form a narrow strip next to State Road 29 in Collier County.
Hunters have argued for years that they have been unfairly and illegally shut out of the land, which is rich in deer and wild turkey.

Read more... [Hunting, off-road vehicles will be allowed in sections of Big Cypress]
 

Vendors want ATVs on Pensacola Beach

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Written by Pensacola News Journal   
Thursday, October 07, 2010

Kimberly Blair

Santa Rosa Island Authority board members are considering allowing beach vendors to use ATVs to haul chairs, umbrellas and other supplies back and forth to the beach, even though Island Authority staff opposes the idea.

To settle the debate that's been going on since July, the board asked Bob West, Pensacola Beach public safety supervisor, to draft an ATV policy, with rules and restrictions, for them to review at the Oct. 27 committee meeting, even though West and Island Authority

Read more... [Vendors want ATVs on Pensacola Beach]
 

Palm Bay community comes together to build fence to protect neighborhood

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Written by News 13   
Sunday, September 26, 2010

Greg Pallone

Some Palm Bay community members spent their Saturday building a safer neighborhood in an area known for off road vehicle traffic.

The goal is putting up what's been deemed the Ivanhoe Project, a 1,000 foot section of fence along a heavily wooded area in the 800 block of Ivanhoe Street, where houses sit directly across the roadway.

Read more... [Palm Bay community comes together to build fence to protect neighborhood]
 

Crews contain brush fire east of Interstate 95 in Titusville

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Written by Florida Today   
Monday, September 13, 2010

Andrew Knapp

Crews contained a brush fire late Monday afternoon, letting the 15-acre blaze burn itself out in a heavily wooded area near State Road 407 and Interstate 95 in Titusville.

The Florida Division of Forestry cleared vegetation around the blaze and started a “backfire” to burn inside those lines, said Division Chief Scott Gaenicke of the Titusville Fire Department.

Read more... [Crews contain brush fire east of Interstate 95 in Titusville]
 

Hudson teen arrested in hit-and-run ATV crash that left four injured

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Written by St. Petersburg Times   
Thursday, September 09, 2010

HUDSON — Authorities have arrested a young man accused of injuring four people in a hit-and-run accident with an ATV over the weekend.

The Florida Highway Patrol says Michael Dennis Floyd, 17, was driving his pickup west on Denton Avenue about 2 a.m. Saturday when he collided with an all-terrain vehicle going south on Hicks Road. FHP said the ATV ran through the stop sign.

Read more... [Hudson teen arrested in hit-and-run ATV crash that left four injured]
 

Man accused of shooting ATV rider with 'air soft pellets' in Bonita

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Written by The News-Press   
Monday, August 16, 2010

Mark S. Krzos

Four ATVers had a little scare Saturday while riding on Rodas Drive in Bonita Springs.

According to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office report, shortly before 3 p.m., a light blue truck pulled out of a driveway in front of the ATVers, who swerved to avoid a crash.

 

Read more... [Man accused of shooting ATV rider with 'air soft pellets' in Bonita]
 

Clyde Butcher rallies opposition to off-road vehicle park at Big Cypress

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Written by Marco Island Sun Times   
Monday, July 26, 2010

Mary Wozniak

World-famous photographer and environmental activist Clyde Butcher is rallying residents to attend a Collier County commission meeting at 9 a.m. Wednesday to protest a proposed off-road vehicle park in the Big Cypress National Preserve.

The park is proposed by Miami-Dade County on 1,600 acres in the eastern end of the preserve. Since some of the land is in Collier County, Collier also has to approve it.

 

Read more... [Clyde Butcher rallies opposition to off-road vehicle park at Big Cypress]
 

Section of Bonita road will be gated

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Written by The News-Press   
Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Mark S. Krzos

The eastern end of Bonita Beach Road will be off-limits within the next few weeks.

Oakbrook Properties will install a locked gate a few hundred yards east of the gated community of VillageWalk.

 

Read more... [Section of Bonita road will be gated]
 

Few other counties, states let vehicles drive on beaches

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Written by Orlando Sentinel   
Friday, July 02, 2010

Ludmilla Lelis

Besides Volusia, beach driving is allowed in at least five other Florida counties, as well as Georgia, North Carolina and Texas, according to a federal report.

Included among those are eight national parks that permit off-road vehicles, including Cape Cod National Seashore in Massachusetts, Cape Hatteras National Seashore in North Carolina, Padre Island National Seashore in Texas and Cumberland Island National Seashore in Georgia, according to National Park Service officials.

Read more... [Few other counties, states let vehicles drive on beaches]
 

Man on ATV tries to outrun Hernando deputy's cruiser; he loses

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Written by St. Petersburg Times   
Thursday, June 10, 2010

A 19-year-old Brooksville man driving an ATV on a roadway tried to outrun a sheriff's deputy, even popping a wheelie as he fled, before crashing and being arrested.

The Hernando County Sheriff's Office said Brian Carpenter of 16129 Sarasota St. was heading south on Orlando Avenue on Tuesday evening when he nearly struck a deputy's cruiser.

 

Read more... [Man on ATV tries to outrun Hernando deputy's cruiser; he loses]
 
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State by State Momentum

Community Voices

"If we have all these bad apples digging up the mud all over the place...pretty soon no one is going to have a spot to ride."

-- Dan Scholl, President Eastern Morrison County 4-Wheeler Club, "Part I: Renegade riders," Minneapolis Star Tribune (9/15/08)