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The Tomahawk Leader is a state and national prize-winning weekly newspaper serving the scenic Northwoods area in and around Tomahawk, WI.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 11:10 pm 

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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.

PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 9:04 am 
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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 roadways, 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.

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