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.