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Rules of the Road & Off-Road for ATVs & Dirt Bikes in Pittsburgh

Off-road riding on ATVs, and dirt bikes can be a great form of recreation for people of all ages.

But with recent reports of these vehicles being driven through Pittsburgh neighborhoods illegally, some residents are looking for tighter restrictions.

Tom Mershimer is an ATV and off-road motorcycle instructor Mines and Meadows  ATV/RV Resort who has been riding and racing off-road vehicles for most of his life. He's an enthusiastic rider, but he's seen some of the problems when it comes to the rules of the road, and off-road.

Mershimer says he encourages his students to be respectful of the land and ask permission on private property.

"First and foremost is, when you get a place to ride, you want to be able to maintain that place to ride. Know that you can ride it today and be able to go out there tomorrow and the weeks after, and be able to count on being able to ride that without an issue and without having an encounter of negative effects with a landowner."

Don McClure from the Pennsylvania Off Highway Vehicle Association has begun addressing the problems through educational events and new technology.

"We have a program we run," McClure describes, "it's for safe and courteous off-road riders and it's designed to teach rider etiquette.  We've just increased our availability of programming and through a DCNR grant we've purchased an ATV simulator...and we will go into communities with this thing to teach proper riding etiquette."