ATV's illegal on sand dunes - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

ATV's illegal on sand dunes

January 20, 2003

Albany - A popular place for 4-wheel enthusiasts is not only dangerous, but legally off limits. Hundreds of people are ignoring no trespassing signs while riding at the sand dunes near the sight of the planned Albany Stadium.

On Saturday, 41 year-old Ted Odom of Colquitt County was backing up a slope when he fell off, and his 4-wheeler rolled over him. He died a day later of internal injuries.

"The 4-wheelers aren't made to handle these steep hills," said Billy Brown of Albany Tractor Company, a Polaris ATV dealer. "ATV's shouldn't be driven up slopes of more than 25 degrees. The sand dune's hills are more extreme."

Polaris requires customers to take a safety course in hopes of curbing accidents. "We teach them how to handle the machine, including maneuvers such as driving up slopes, figure eights and ovals," said Brown.

But, the sand dunes are off limits. A wall of no trespassing signs surround the area, some of which is owned by Oxford Construction. The company also put up a fence to deter riders. Albany police often tell riders to leave. But, their patrol cars can't drive into the interior of the dunes, making it nearly impossible to enforce no trespassing.

Rider Billy Webb, of Albany, says riders must use common sense when riding no matter what course their on. "Some of the drivers don't understand the power of these machines. I teach my sons to use common sense and respect the speed and power of the 4-wheeler," said Webb.

Posted at 5:30PM by kathryn.murchison@walb.com