Bay Roberts hopes to remedy ATV issue through education
Municipal enforcement officer says town has major safety concern
To put it plainly, we have a major ATV issue here in the community. We have an awful lot of quads and dirtbikes that are cutting in and around the town. — Perry Bowering
BAY ROBERTS, NL — A report from Bay Roberts municipal enforcement officer (MEO) Perry Bowering led to some interesting discussion on proper use of ATVs.
During a regular council meeting for the town of Bay Roberts held on Tuesday, July 18, Bowering was asked to present an update on various issues that are currently being looked at.
A major topic Bowering brought up during the meeting was the use of ATVs in Bay Roberts, and how he feels as though things are getting out of control – an opinion shared almost unanimously by members of council that were present.
“To put it plainly, we have a major ATV issue here in the community,” said Bowering. “We have an awful lot of quads and dirtbikes that are cutting in and around the town.”
Bowering went on to explain that although he’s seen several instances of dangerous use of ATVs throughout the town, local RCMP does not seem to share the opinion that measures need to be taken against it.
One major issue Bowering saw regarding ATV use in the area was the age of people operating the vehicles. Bowering noted that many were too young to have a driver’s license, and thus would not properly understand the laws of roadways like they should while operating a motorized vehicle.
Coun. George Simmons followed up on this, stating that children under the age of 16 should not be operating ATVs in the first place, and that if something were to happen, parents could be held responsible.
Deputy Mayor Walter Yetman also spoke up about the age issue.
“The responsibility needs to be geared toward the parents. These young children don’t own these bikes, technically, so at the end of the day the decision goes to the parents,” said Yetman. “They need to understand that.”
The discussion then led to a recent accident in Bonavista, where a 13-year-old girl died following what appeared to be a rollover of a side-by-side.
“Something needs to be done out here before something like that happens in our community as well,” said Coun. Bill Seymour. “With all the ATV activity here, it’s only a matter of time before something really bad happens.”
Bowering agreed, stating that he was completely on board with any steps to decrease illegal ATV use. However, he noted again that the local detachment was not yet on board with him.
“It doesn’t seem like there’s anyone listened from our local detachment,” said Bowering.
Bowering also stated that RCMP officers are no longer allowed to follow behind bikes and other off-road vehicles. The reason behind this, Bowering said, was that if anything were to happen to the operator of the ATV while they were being followed, it would be on the detachment, and not the driver of the ATV.
The idea of education regarding ATV use was brought forward by Mayor Phillip Wood, followed by a strong agreement from Bowering.
“Would we be able to hold some kind of education session for these ATV users, parents, or anyone else who wants to get involved?” Wood questioned. “It might not be an immediate end to the problem, but it might help in the long run.”
Coun. Dean Franey noted that the Holyrood RCMP detachment has a similar program currently ongoing in schools that pushes for ATV safety.
Bowering then mentioned a previous program offered by Search and Rescue teams across the province that promoted safety measures when boating. Bowering noted that following the program, there were a significantly smaller number of drownings per year.
Near the end of the discussion, it was concluded that the town would look to schedule a meeting with council, Bowering, RCMP, and possibly the town’s trail association, with hopes of arranging an education session for residents. Though they hope to hold the meeting soon, there was no date set in stone as of Tuesday, July 18.
Perry Bowering, municipal enforcement officer for Bay Roberts, said in a recent council meeting that the town had a major ATV issue.