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ATV on county roads

Posted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 6:18 pm
by Tomahawk Leader
I feel a news article that appeared in the March 9 edition of the Tomahawk Leader stating an ATV club had asked for the Hiawatha Trail to be opened for ATVs, has been misinterpreted.

The point of discussion regarding the trail was, if the county allowed ATVs to come into the city via county highways and if the city allowed ATVs on the street and if, during construction of the new Fourth Street bridge, the bridge would be closed to ATV traffic, could it be possible, in the interest of rider safety, to use the Hiawatha bridge to cross the river and go a few blocks to County Highway CC. That was a question, not a request.

It was never the intention, or was there a request, to open the complete Hiawatha Trail to ATVs.

Joan M. Giusto

Re: ATV on county roads

Posted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 6:19 pm
by Tomahawk Leader
To the people of our community who use County Road A east and County Road D, the Lincoln County Board will decide a resolution in April as to whether ATVs (4-wheelers) will use these roads along with cars and trucks.

The Lincoln County Highway Committee has already agreed to this. Ordinance 2010-03-552 states CTH B from junction STH 17 to CTH D. CTH D from junction CTH B to south CTH H. CTH H from junction with CTH D to Gerbick Lake Lane. CTH X from junction with First Avenue to Vascheau Road. Another ordinance is forthcoming to include the same but to swing short CTH H to CTH A to Cash Road to Mohawk Drive.
We have the following safety concerns: age of operator – they are saying ages 12 on up; surface – we were told that they will run on the pavement; speed limit – as they will not be able to keep up with the flow of traffic (55 mph) they will need a slow moving sign; road ready – will their vehicles need all operating lights, mirrors, turn signals, etc.; attachments – will they be able to tow trailers, etc; times – will they run 24/7, 365 days a year; signage – who pays for the numerous signs that will be needed; law enforcement – will ATV drivers need driving licenses. If a driver is caught for a major infraction could they lose their license, as others do.

Townships affected by these route designations are financially responsible for all EMT and fire calls which result from incidents involving ATVs should the owner not pay the bills. That is a direct tax liability to the local property owners.

We believe the safety issues are too large to ignore when considering ATV routes on paved county roads, including the danger to passengers and drivers of autos and trucks and other vehicles normally allowed on these routes is too great allow this to happen.

We call your attention to the following laws that restrict ATV use, states, “Never operate an ATV on pavement, they are not designed for use on paved surfaces and may be difficult to control.” The website also states, “ATVs are designed for off-road use, they can be difficult to handle on paved surfaces.

We further quote from a standard ATV handbook promulgated by the ATV Safety Institute. It states, “Always avoid paved surfaces. Never ride on public roads.”

Virginia and Bob Richards
Greg and Nancy Powers
Curtis and Margaret Powell
Town of King

(Editor’s note: A resolution proposing opening around 15 miles of county road to ATV use was held over at the Lincoln County Board’s March meeting. The town of King will be hosting a public hearing in the coming weeks to further discuss the proposal. The township will draft a recommendation based on town resident input that will be submitted to the County Board, which will have the final say on whether the roads are converted to multi-use.)

Re: ATV on county roads

Posted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 6:20 pm
by Tomahawk Leader
I think it’s wonderful that county highways are being opened to ATVers. It will be great to be able to get to the trails on my ATV instead of loading it on a trailer to haul it five miles to the trails. I’ve owned and ridden motorcycles and snowmobiles and think an ATV is much safer than either of those machines. As for traffic on county highways, an ATV is much more visible than either a bicycle or motorcycle which both travel on county highways.

Our ATV trails are multi-use, which means cars, logging trucks, jeeps, 4x4s and motorcycles share our trails. It wouldn’t be anything new for us to share the road with other vehicles.
There are many places in the state that have county highways opened to ATVs. We already have some opened here in Lincoln County. It is about time we have the ability to go from our homes to the trails like snowmobilers do now.

Hopefully these routes will be opened soon so I can truly enjoy all the trails in our area on my ATV this summer.

Fran Pelehowski

Re: ATV on county roads

Posted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 8:59 pm
by Nimble
I assume the ATVs will be paying the $75 other vehicles normally contribute to the highway fund in WI.

Re: ATV on county roads

Posted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 9:49 pm
by Kerry Tobin
I don't know what the fee is but ATVs, snowmobiles and boats all have to be registered every year. The fund might be different but it's all taxes we'd be paying either way.

This whole thing has been kind of funny to watch looking from an outside view. Especially all the concerns about having ATVs on a couple county highways. I did a double take the first time I saw an ATV driving on a four lane road in the middle of Bozeman, MT. Now when I'm out there it seems like a normal thing (and a fairly regular occurrence.

Re: ATV on county roads

Posted: Fri Apr 02, 2010 4:52 pm
by Hugodog
ATV drivers using roadways does not need a driver’s license. Their registration fees and their portion of the gas tax goes to trail maintenance and enforcement. They will not be contributing to the transportation fund. On June 1, 2010, all motor vehicles operated in Wisconsin will be required to have a minimum of $100,000 of financial responsibly. ATVs are not motor vehicles by state statute; they are classified off-road recreational vehicles. They are not required to have insurance. If one of these things hits you or your child while you/they are walking or cycling….GOOD LUCK!

Take a look at the ATV fatality rates in this state and the percentage that were under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash. It is posted on the DNR website. How does this compare with the alcohol fatality rates of other trail users like snowmobiles, snowshoers, cross country skiers, horseback riders, mountain bikers, trail runners and backpackers?

If they’ re using the roads they will greater access to taverns and alcohol along with more access to public and private properties. When they get OWI on the road it is a $350 fine and it does not affect their driver’s license. Penalties go up for second and third offences, but there are no affects on insurance and assessments are not required.

I am sure there are many responsible ATV drivers, but leaving them on the roadway is not a good idea.


Re: ATV on county roads

Posted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 9:19 am
by Nimble
Nor do ATVs meet the emissions requirements of highway vehicles. None of their segregated fund goes to support roadways. Same for snowmobiles, all those ruts you see where snowmobiles cross are repaired at the expense of auto/truck license fees.

The contest between ATV deaths in WI and MN is often seen merely as a playout of Darwinian principles.

Re: ATV on county roads

Posted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 11:17 pm
by Tomahawk Leader
This is also posted under our Opinion thread, but included here with the rest of the discussion, too. The following is an editorial in the April 13, 2010, Tomahawk Leader:

There is a great deal of discussion lately in Tomahawk, Lincoln County and elsewhere about expanding ATV trails to include use on county highways and city streets. The concept is good for ATV enthusiasts as well as business interests and we support that. However, we have serious concerns about safety issues.

ATVs used on public roadways of any kind, and their drivers should conform to all rules of the road, just as autos, trucks and motorcycles do. That means both machines and operators should be street legal. Other states mandate those rules and we feel Wisconsin should also.

Without those state regulations there is currently nothing to stop 12-year-olds from operating an ATV on designated streets and highways. If it’s unsafe and illegal for those under the age of 16 to operate an automobile or a motorcycle, it is similarly so, if not more so, for the operation of an ATV. If reflectors, rear view mirrors and the like are requirements for autos and motorcycles, the same should be required for ATVs being operated on public roads.

As we said, we support and encourage expanded access for ATVs. However, we think the issue should be better thought out and follow the same requirements that other vehicles must adhere to on public roads.

Re: ATV on county roads

Posted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 9:02 am
by Hugodog
Did anyone attend the King public hearing on opening up the county highways to ATVs ?

It sound like opening all public roadways to ATVs in the Town of Nokomis is a done deal. I wasn’t able to attend either hearing, but my source told me that the Nokomis Town Hall was packed with ATV supporters not just from Nokomis, but from other counties too.

Gary Baier, Chairmen of the Town of Nokomis and a self-proclaim ATV enthusiast, seems to have some grandiose plan to make the Township a network of ATV trails. At the start of the meeting, he went on a rant on some guy who legally uses the town roads for inline training. Most people seem confused by this behavior and didn’t know what this had to do with ATVs. When one gentleman starting asking respectful questions to law enforcement officials about the requirements for driving an ATV on public roadway, he didn’t like where that was going and told him he couldn’t ask anymore questions. Mr. Baier did not impose any question limits on any of the ATV supporters.

My understanding is that town board could not vote on this during public hearing because one board member was missing. They will vote when they have a full quorum. One attendee, who was flashing her ATV club colors, asked if they could have this meeting on a Saturday? Gary Baier responded that we could have the meeting whenever the ATV groups want.

Re: ATV on county roads

Posted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:47 pm
by Old Scout
It will be interesting to see how long it is before there are problems with ATV's running on the roads with cars and trucks etc. Or should I say until the first serious accident when someone gets killed and then the you know what will hit the old fan. Watch them try to blame the car or truck driver so they can collect on his/her insurance because they don't carry any.

The road I live on is not open to ATV's but there are a few that live in the area that still run the road, mostly young kids and teens. I almost got one last year when they came flying past as I was coming out of my driveway. It didn't help that it was dark and they didn't have their headlite on. Guess they got more of a thrill that way. It was almost a permenent thrill.

I think they are opening a big can of worms with this one. :roll: