By Chris Lewis | Vol. 32 No. 15 (June 26 2019)
With the school season ending, and summer weather finally poking its way through the clouds, ATV safety is back at the top of the priority list in CBS.
On Tuesday, the Seal Cove ATV staging area saw plenty of people ready to listen and learn about the importance of staying safe on ATVs.
RCMP inspector Alex Brennan spoke to those watching about the proper ways of utilising an ATV, and the consequences of not following the guidelines.
Brennan said younger drivers need to remain aware of just how dangerous their ATVs can be if not used with care and caution.
“At the end of the school year, we’re always going to see an increase in activity, with all the available time and good weather,” Brennan told The Shoreline after the event. “We’ll see plenty of young people on machines, and oftentimes with young people comes inexperience. Ultimately, it comes down to ensuring that they’re operating these vehicles in a safe manner, so that they can get home at the end of the day. Sometimes you get youth who haven’t got the experience. The machines are big, they’re powerful, and they’re strong. Sometimes you get kids doing stunts and that can be very dangerous unless done with a lot of experience. What will happen there is we’ll see people getting injured.”
Brennan highlighted a specific case in central Newfoundland, where a young man was injured on an ATV without a plan in effect for his ride. He ended up spending several hours alone with his injuries before being found.
To avoid such situations, Brennan said, the solution comes down to proper safety equipment.
“Simple things like a chest shield, proper boots, not wearing loose clothing, those can all prevent serious injuries,” he explained. “But, people also need to have a basic plan – mom, dad, uncle so-and-so, tell them where you plan to go and how long you might be gone. Simple things like that can really prevent some of these tragic things that can happen.”
Brennan noted that ATVs are not made for driving on public roads.
“Users have got to be responsible for making appropriate decisions with those vehicles. They may think they’re fine, but they’re not looking over their shoulder to see what car went off the road, or if they caused a collision. It’s absolutely imperative that we, as a society, take a role in this, and come forward to remind everybody to use those vehicles safely,” he said.
CBS Deputy Mayor Richard Murphy said the town, on a regular basis, receives complaints about ATV use on residential byroads. He said he has personally seen the vehicles being used on Route 60 and Peacekeeper’s Way.
“Our concern, now that school is going to be out soon, is that we’re likely going to see an increase of illegal ATV use on public streets – that’s something we have zero tolerance for,” Murphy said. “We want to make the public aware that the Town is committed to the safety of their citizens. We want everybody to enjoy their machines, and we also want everybody to enjoy their peace and quiet in CBS – especially those who don’t own or use these machines. They have a right to peace and quiet and enjoyment of their properties.”
Murphy said over the past 10 years the CBS Fire Department has responded to everything from minor and major injuries to fatalities involving ATVs.
In recent years, the Town upgraded the former rail track that snakes its way from Topsail to Seal Cove, designating most of it for walkers, runners and bicyclists only. The CBS ATV committee, which Murphy sits on as the council representative, is aiming to create a trail that would take ATV enthusiasts throughout the community using a separate route. Murphy said the Town recognizes that ATV users deserve a path to make up for the one they lost.
Murphy pointed out the efforts of this committee will go a long way in making CBS a much more ATV-friendly community and, in the long run, hopefully reduce the amount of illegal ATV use in the Town.
“One of the main purposes (of the committee) is to investigate the possibility of putting a back trail in that would connect, say, everything on the south side of Route 60 out to this area, and move it from here and out towards Holyrood and that area,” he explained. “We’re currently identifying possible trailways, but of course, you’ve got issues like ‘Who’s land does this go through?’ There’s Crown land, there’s land owned by Hydro, (and so on) so it’s a busy committee.”