RISING IN THE EAST: A MESSAGE FROM SHERIFF CARMINE MARCENO

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All-terrain vehicles…ATVs…have become enormously popular and are an enjoyable recreational activity for people of all ages.

It is important to note that along with the adrenaline rush that accompanies ATV riding comes a need for training, responsible and lawful usage of the vehicle…as well as a respect for public and private property.

While we have seen messages posted, on social media, indicating that these riders are “just having fun” and “should be allowed to ride,” most citizens don’t realize that many of these “riders” are operating their vehicles on public roadways, in packs, forcing cars off of the road, doing “wheelies” and damaging property.

The Lehigh Acres Municipal Services Improvement District, for example, is tasked with managing and preserving natural and community resources including water resource management.  These riders have trespassed onto this property damaging waterways and canal banks.  Despite clear and conspicuous “No Trespassing” signs, these riders are causing significant damage.

Additionally, improper and careless usage of these vehicles have led to life-altering injuries and, in all too many instances, death. 

Despite Florida statutes prohibiting the operation of all-terrain vehicles on public roadways, the practice continues.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office is closely observing ATV usage in East District, specifically along and near Sunshine Boulevard, just north of State Road 82 and in and around the Lehigh Acres Municipal Services Improvement District.

Regrettably, many of these riders have opted to ride in front and back yards across the district.  These riders have damaged lawns, personal property and pose a risk to small children and pets playing on their own yards.

Fines can range from $ 111.00 to $ 1,163.00 and riders are financially responsible for any and all damage done.  Our deputies have been instructed to strictly enforce these statutes.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office respects the rights of ATV owners and encourages the lawful and safe operation of these vehicles.  ATVs can be operated on private property, with the owner’s permission, as well as on ATV-designated properties.

For additional information regarding responsible ATV operation, please visit https://treadlightly.org/learn/recreation-tips/atv/.

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