MEXICO – All-terrain vehicle riders can now drive into the downtown along certain roads to get gas, food and other services, provided they follow the rules.

After a public hearing this week with ATV Maine Executive Director Dan Mitchell of Dixfield, selectmen asked Town Manager John Madigan to draft an ATV policy similar to Dixfield’s.

Selectmen agreed to allow ATV riders to drive along Osgood Avenue from Porter Bridge Road to Flood Street, down Flood Street to Carleton Avenue, and along Carleton Avenue to the Swift River bridge, where they could pick up the ATV trail under the bridge.

The route was chosen to alleviate issues that property owners on Carleton Avenue have with ATV riders, Madigan said.

According to the policy, no one under the age of 16 can drive an ATV on public ways, but 16-year-olds can, provided they have taken ATV safety classes.

ATV operators must abide by these rules on public ways:

• travel to the far right of the public way;

• travel no faster than 10 mph;

• yield to pedestrians and all other vehicles; and

• not use access routes or the rest of the trail system during mud season.

It’s up to the local ATV club to post the roads with speed limit and route signs indicating they are approved ATV trails.

Dixfield requires nonresident ATV operators to be accompanied by licensed local drivers on its trail systems and access routes. Mexico selectmen chose to do otherwise, thanks to police Chief Jim Theriault.

“The police chief didn’t think that should be in the policy, because a lot of out-of-town people use the trails and don’t know anybody in Mexico,” Madigan said.

Selectmen tabled acceptance of the new policy until their next board meeting to give Madigan time to draft the policy.

In other business:

• selectmen approved a $33,000 state grant to the local ATV club for trail bridgework on what’s known locally as “Route 66.” Madigan said the money comes from ATV registration fees, which go into a fund that is distributed annually to all communities to maintain the state’s ATV trail system;

• the board agreed to present appreciation plaques to area Boy Scouts who picked up more than 20 bags of litter along Route 2 before Memorial Day between Dixfield and the Memorial Bridge;

• selectmen approved a town match of $1,600 on a Maine Department of Public Safety grant to buy a second video camera for a police cruiser. Last year, the town asked for two cameras but was only awarded one, Madigan said. The state is picking up 75 percent of the cost of the $4,000 cameras.


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