BodyAmend ATV bylaw
Members of city council and administration constantly suggest that most ATV owners operate their vehicles in a responsible manner. However, the draft ATV bylaw now permits owners to operate their machines “on a roadway for the purpose of travelling from their residence to the nearest permitted area…”.
The operation of these vehicles on any paved roadway would be irresponsible in light of the fact that manufacturers, on their ATV warning labels, suggest that operators “avoid paved surfaces (because) pavement may seriously affect handling and control.” The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says that “ATVs – because of how they’re made – are difficult to control on paved roads.” According to the Safety Commission “many fatalities involving ATVs occur on paved roads.”
The definition of an ATV in the draft bylaw supports this view when it states that an ATV is “designed and manufactured for off-road travel…” (p. 2 of the ATV Draft Bylaw). Dirt bikes are also unstable and difficult to operate on paved roadways.
The city should not pass a bylaw that puts ATV operators and other users of paved roadways at risk by permitting owners of these machines to operate their vehicles in an irresponsible way (on paved roads), particularly when there is overwhelming evidence that this is a dangerous activity at any speed. One can hardly ask ATV owners to act responsibly when the city itself encourages them to be irresponsible.
I hope that next Monday a member of council will ask for an amendment to the draft bylaw, which will prohibit the operation of ATVs on any paved roadway within the city of Whitehorse.