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What to look for when buying land for a private track?

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Thinking about buying 10 acres, and having a small private track. Or thinking about selling my house and buying a house on 10 acres and building a small track. 

 

What kind of things would I need to look for to make sure I wouldn't get my riding shut down? If I did buy land and I had a neighbor close, could they prevent me from riding if they didn't like the noise? Im sure different States, Counties, and even Cities have different regulations. What would be the best way to find this stuff out? I would hate to sell my house, then buy a new house, just to find out I can't even ride there...

 

In North GA if that helps

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You would have to contact the township or wherever the property was to be sure, I assume it would depend on how its zoned and ultimately like you said if anyone complained.

Here in Michigan a mug bog got shut down because they were charging admission, outside of that it was fine it would have been completely fine if they didnt go after 9pm.

Edited by CRFRida1605
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Even if local regulations allows,

better discuss of your project with future neighbors ahead of time.

 

Look for a property that has trees & shrub around the whole outside perimeter of the lot with enough space for a track in the middle,

the trees will help in cutting down how far the noise travels.

 

Idealy you would also look for terrain that is rather loamy/soft soil rather than rocky,

has some elevation changes to create 'natural' jumps (step-ups, step-downs etc) rather than man-made obstacles that require moving a lot of material

and has access to a water supply (creek/pond) for you to install a portable pump and water the track if required.

 

If you usually ride a 4T, consider a 2 stroke for your home track as the higher frequency soundwaves don't travel as far.

Edited by mlatour
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Good advice so far. Zoning is really important as is knowledge of noise bylaws which doesn't always go hand in hand. From personal experience I have seen established businesses that new neighbors try to shut down because they don't like noise or traffic so do all the homework you can so that you'll be protected should that arise. You should look into any community plans that project future development too. Another thing to be aware of is personal liability once you get up and running. I'm sure you'll have to fence off the entire property and watch who you let in. I'd even have anyone coming sign a waiver familiy,friends, everyone! Even then you're going to require some extra insurance in case someone sneaks in and gets hurt. You should consult a lawyer to determine what you need to protect your assets. I don't mean to be a downer but the homework you do beforehand will save you down the road.

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Good advice so far. Zoning is really important as is knowledge of noise bylaws which doesn't always go hand in hand. From personal experience I have seen established businesses that new neighbors try to shut down because they don't like noise or traffic so do all the homework you can so that you'll be protected should that arise. You should look into any community plans that project future development too. Another thing to be aware of is personal liability once you get up and running. I'm sure you'll have to fence off the entire property and watch who you let in. I'd even have anyone coming sign a waiver familiy,friends, everyone! Even then you're going to require some extra insurance in case someone sneaks in and gets hurt. You should consult a lawyer to determine what you need to protect your assets. I don't mean to be a downer but the homework you do beforehand will save you down the road.

 

Ya, it would just be for me and my kids mainly, and a couple of my friends. Not trying to get sued

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If your project moves forward another way to be considerate to neighbors is to determine on which days / time of day you will limit your riding on.

 

Perhaps only riding on weekday evenings and weekends before noon could be seen as a gesture of goodwill.

 

The neighbors would appreciate having quiet Saturday & Sunday afternoons/evenings entertaining guests in their backyards without the constant background noise of nearby dirtbikes.

Noise travels surprisingly far (especialy large bore 4T's MX'ers and quads), a 10-15 acre lots isn't all that big for the buffer area around the track to fully disperse the noise.

 

Keep in mind that not everyone is a motocross enthusiast, even I would strongly question the building of a track near my house...

Edited by mlatour

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Ya, it would just be for me and my kids mainly, and a couple of my friends. Not trying to get sued

I would still look into a liabilty release "form" I sign one each time I "sign up" at each event................. do all you can to protect yourself.

 

Your "friends" may not intend to sue but when the med bills go through the roof (and other reasons) they may have no choice but to move the liability over to you.

 

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If a guest rider is unfortunately injured to the point of being invalid (cognitive problems making them unable to take decisions)

their family stuck with the bills will sue you despite the waiver that was signed, leaving the legal system to decide the liability.

 

There's a lot of legal considerations to having a personnal track unlike a business owned practice/race track that have a legal consultant.

Personnal 'friendships' change fast when big money issues arise.

Edited by mlatour
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Even a "buisness track" can be sued.............regardless of what is signed or who is consulted..........

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Check with a lawyer before having any type of waiver. Business tracks insurance require it but being a private track having a waiver may require more insurance than you have or can afford. It's got something to do with acknowledging the risk and danger. It's like having a beware of dog sign on your fence and having a pitbull, your letting everyone know it's a danger so when something happens your already behind it in a sense because you openly warned them you have a danger. It also could work with you because they were warned

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Even a "buisness track" can be sued.............regardless of what is signed or who is consulted..........

 

Yes no doubts,  but I meant that being in business they are more likely better prepared then the average guy to deal with that eventuality.

Edited by mlatour

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This sounds so ridiculous. I know these are all valid points but is all this really that necessary if you want to ride a dirtbike on your own land? I had a small track at my house growing up and so did friends of mine but we never worried about being sued or getting permission to ride on land we owned. This thread makes it sound like riding a dirtbike at home is straight up illegal.

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Everything in life has it's risks.

Dirtbiking: It's an 'extreme' sport versus other hobbies like fishing or knitting socks.

you can decide what risks you are willing to take while riding but there are events out of your control, IE someone crashing into you.

 

There are lot of things people worried less 20-30 years ago; faulty tires, your dog bitting a kid etc.

now victims get informed thru the internet and can compare with other similar case where someone has received a good chunk of cash after getting injured.

A few clics online and you can find a lawyer specialized in every type of injury claim.

 

I live north of the border in Canada, but from what I can gather the USA still is a 'sue happy' society : ambulance chasing lawyers,

lady sueing McDonald's because there was no indication on their cups that the coffee was hot etc etc.

It cost 0$ to start a case, in the end the lawyer gets a percentage of the settlement (likely more than the victim...)

 

People are tempted by easy money even if the fault of the incident is principaly theirs and the actual claim of dubious honesty

even at the cost of a long term friendship or their pride, an unfortunate sign of the times / mentality.

 

If someone gets hurt on or by your property (not even an MX related injury, say your fence falls over onto someone walking by on the sidewalk)

there is the chance that they claim a liability case against you. In return your insurance company might want to also determine if your fence's upkeep

was neglected (rotted and due to replace) so they may not cover the claim, their way of wiggling out of paying, if so you're stuck with victim's bills.

Having a private MX track isn't a common homeowner liability coverage policy as the chances of injury are much greater.

 

If you get hurt on your own track well too bad, hopefully you have some sort of insurance to cover medical bills and loss of salary.

But by not considering the legal issues of having other people ride on your private track,

you are taking the risk of loosing quite a lot of your assets and savings if one day something does go wrong.

 

Keeping in mind that MX'ing is a high risk sport, are you feeling lucky enough to possibly chance your family's savings.

 

If I had a personal track, even if fully insured guests would be limited to 2-3 of my closest long time friends,

I'd have specific riding rules and waivers would have to be signed at each visit.

 

(not sure I have all the proper words to explain the legal terms as english isn't my first language)

Edited by mlatour

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Go rural. If your neighbors are accustomed to hearing tractors or pumps running in the morning you should be fine.

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I ride on property.  Like clock work every Saturday the neighbor gets out his riding lawn mower and leaf blowers and goes to work.  This gives me an hour or two to ride. 

 

In most states signing a waivers for a non business is asking for trouble.  It makes it look like you're running a business and provides written proof that you are putting people at risk, never charge anyone to ride on your property.  Most states recognize that riding dirtbikes or horses or skateboards or  .....  is risky and you really don't have a case if you get hurt while doing them.  Your more likely to get sued if your friend comes over for a beer and falls on your driveway.

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I would still look into a liabilty release "form" I sign one each time I "sign up" at each event................. do all you can to protect yourself.

 

Your "friends" may not intend to sue but when the med bills go through the roof (and other reasons) they may have no choice but to move the liability over to you.

 

 

 

If a guest rider is unfortunately injured to the point of being invalid (cognitive problems making them unable to take decisions)

their family stuck with the bills will sue you despite the waiver that was signed, leaving the legal system to decide the liability.

 

There's a lot of legal considerations to having a personnal track unlike a business owned practice/race track that have a legal consultant.

Personnal 'friendships' change fast when big money issues arise.

 

I met a lady a couple of years ago who was being sued by a friend. Her visiting friend slipped on some shiny marble stairs in the house. The fall down the stairs was awful, she shattered a leg and had to go through orthopedic surgery and was bed-ridden for ages. 

 

On the one hand she was upset to be sued by a friend, but on the other hand she acknowledged her needy situation and was sorry for what happened to her. 

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I met a lady a couple of years ago who was being sued by a friend. Her visiting friend slipped on some shiny marble stairs in the house. The fall down the stairs was awful, she shattered a leg and had to go through orthopedic surgery and was bed-ridden for ages. 

 

On the one hand she was upset to be sued by a friend, but on the other hand she acknowledged her needy situation and was sorry for what happened to her. 

 

From what I understand, isnt it the insurance co that sues half the time to recoup costs... i.e.: they dont just turn around and sue their best mate for the broken ankle.

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