Soon all property owners in Town of Spider Lake will be receiving a survey about the proposed change of ATV/UTV use on all town roads.
If, like me, your first thought is, “What’s the harm?” I will tell you that what I’ve learned by doing a little research online has answered that question and the answer is, quite a bit of harm.
I will be posting links to various articles and studies in the near future. But here briefly are some of my findings.
Safety. The number of deaths and serious injuries from the use of ATV/UTVs is on the rise. More and more of the deaths are occurring on paved roads. Manufacturers have stated that they are unsafe on paved roads for several reasons, high center of gravity and the tires are meant for trails, not pavement. Alcohol has been a contributing factor in many of the deaths. As has the lack of helmets and not using seatbelts. We also need to remember who else is using the town roads. Landscaping trucks hauling trailers of equipment, construction vehicles, large delivery trucks, and vehicles hauling boats. Our town roads are narrow with very limited shoulders, many curves and often deep ditches on the side. Those vehicles would have a hard time avoiding ATV/UTVs if they came up behind them on a curve.
Noise. More often than not when out on ATV/UTVs people are traveling in groups. This can create quite a bit of noise. By allowing them on all town roads this has the potential of being a real nuisance if you live on a quiet road here in our town.
Road maintenance expense. Many areas that reversed their zoning and allowed the use of town roads for ATV/UTVs have seen an increase in road expense that has caused an increase in their taxes. Shoulders of the roads were torn up, the pavement on the edges of the roads was broken down and had to be repeatedly repaired. All of these costs were passed onto the town taxpayers while those using the roads were more often than not visitors to the area with no financial stake in the community.
These are the three major issues I have discovered. Sawyer County has beautiful trails that are becoming very popular and are bringing more visitors to the area. I’ve come to believe that the trails are the safest place for riding. After all, that is what the machines were designed for, trails.
Tell me your thoughts.
Here is a link with information about the trails available in our area.