Dawn-Euphemia to look at use of ATVs on roads

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Heather Wright/The Independent

Dawn-Euphemia’s mayor would rather not have ATVs on municipal roads.
Starting in January, municipalities have to spell out whether the off-road vehicles will be allowed in their communities.
Lambton OPP have been talking to municipal leaders, encouraging them to have a conversation about the issue before the end of the year.
“Because of recent amendments made to the Highway Traffic Act…the province will permit off road vehicles on local municipal roads where 80 km speed limits apply,” says Clerk Donna Clermont in a report to council.
The rule will automatically apply to Dawn-Euphemia unless “a restricting or prohibiting bylaw is passed.”
The OPP says about 37 per cent of the ORV accidents they attend are on municipal roadways.
Speed was the cause of about 19 per cent of the collisions. Thirty-eight per cent of the time, the ORV driver lost control of the machine.
Alcohol fueled nearly 20 per cent of all accidents that were fatal or had injuries.
And the OPP says 69 per cent of those killed on off road vehicles were not wearing a helmet or using a seatbelt.
Mayor Al Broad says during his time in office, he has never been asked by residents to make off road vehicles legal in the municipality. And even though nearby Chatham-Kent allows the use of ATVs on roads, he’s not sure it is a good idea in Dawn-Euphemia.
Broad says about 75 per cent of the people using the vehicles would follow the rules of the road. But he’s also aware about 25 per cent of the people are out for a good time, and that includes doing donuts and making divots on municipal roads.
“Some people think it is fun to chew up as much gravel as they can,” he says.
In a township where the majority of roads are gravel, and where they take pride in having good roads, Broad isn’t too keen on the idea.
“We would have to regrade our roads because if they start putting two or three inch divots on to the road all the time all of the sudden, it becomes a safety issue for drivers.”
Broad says he supports the use of off road vehicles by farmers and trappers, which is legal under highway traffic rules now, but he personally doesn’t want to see it open up to off-roaders bent on just having fun.
Council will discuss the issue before the end of this year.