Fellow Ohvers,

We all know about the passing of Senate Bill 270 during 2016 New Mexico legislative session giving Road access to OHVs. This is a new and controversial bill which could be a big win for rural communities. There is already positioning from it and trying to shape rules and restrictions from towns, counties, Dept. of Transportation State Transportation Commission and NM Dept. of Game and Fish.

I went to an emergency meeting of the NM Dept. of Game and Fish’s OHV Advisory Board on July 6, 2016 in which Dept. of Game and Fish rolled out the draft version of the rule change. The one change, I want to mention relates of OHVs on Streets and Highway section of the proposed rule change. Which is different from what the bill passed that changed the Statute allowing OHVs road access. Section C (5) the operator of the vehicle and all occupants (which is not in statute) are wearing approved eye protection and an approved safety helmet in compliance with the Rule. 18.15.3 N MAC. The OHV advisory board and I spoke out against this but NM Dept. of Game and Fish didn’t listen then kept in their included rule change.

This is what is probably going to happen. I have no the doubt the statute will be opened up during the 2017 legislative session. The Statute will be changed in number of ways at minimum: fines will be increased and others will added to reflect OHV roads provisions. They will make changes to the statute to correct errors. One of the things that is done to change a statute is change the rule first then lobby legislature to change the statute to reflect changes in the rule. So, during the legislative session you can expect a provision to be added or attempted to added requiring individuals to wear helmets on the road which is over reach.

The final version of the rule change is open for public comment on the NM Dept. of Game and Fish’s website under Home> public comment or follow this link Public Comment – New Mexico Department of Game & Fish . Please take the time to follow in the instructions to make comments on this rule either for or against.

Ronald Schubert

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