OPINION: Reasoning does not add up

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Chatham-Kent council recently opted to add on operating hours for certain types of ATVs on most rural roads in the municipality and we don’t understand the reasoning, at least what was outlined by municipal administration.

The report from administration says the extension of hours, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. instead of 30 minutes after sunrise to 30 minutes before sunset, checks four boxes on council’s own “Council Term Priorities” list. And that’s something with which we seriously disagree.

Priority one, “Deliver Excellent Service.” How is someone driving an ATV down a roadway delivering service of any kind for anyone? It likely does deliver fun to the ATV rider, though.

Priority two, “Promote Safety & Well-Being.” Having ATV jockeys on roads that contain various commercial and commuter vehicles is not a safe recipe. Clip an ATV with a car and that ATV driver is likely in big trouble, especially on a rural road where the speed limit is 80 or 90 km/h.

Priority three, “Grow Our Community.” How does someone hopping aboard an ATV grow the community? Do pregnancies occur on ATVs? Are people moving here because they can drive their ATV down the shoulder of a flat, straight rural road?

Priority four, “Ensure Environmental Sustainability.” This is laughable. The extended hours provide just the opposite of ensuring environmental sustainability. How many electric ATVs are out there? The vast, vast majority of all-terrain vehicles are gas powered.

It you’re lucky, one of these maxes out at 20-25 miles to the gallon. Heck, that’s not far off the advertised highway fuel economy of a 5.7L Hemi-equipped Ram truck.

Add to that the fact most ATV riders are out and about playing around (they’re fun to ride, for sure), goosing the throttle at times. Fuel consumption is likely much worse.

Strange justification, in our minds, to extend the hours allowing ATVs to share the roads with other vehicles.

We realize the extension of operation hours is not across the board for all ATVs. There are restrictions.

And, yes, we know ATVs aren’t allowed on all roadways in the municipality. For starters, they can’t be (legally) driven in urban areas and along certain busy rural roads and highways.

Still, the reasoning for the added hours is nonsensical. Just state it is for the enjoyment of the riders.

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