In early November I wrote about an editorial discussing off-highway vehicles (OHVs) and the damage some have done in Shasta and Trinity counties. The comments (all ten of them) came on both sides of the issue, and it was a very useful exchange that helped me clarify my own position on OHV use.
I recently came across in article in USA Today entitled “Off-Road Vehicle Use Fuels Tension, Violence across U.S.” Let me stress that the vast majority of OHV riders obey regulations; the problems come from the small minority who don’t. Here’s some snippets from the article:
Clashes over the sport of off-roading are becoming more violent for riders, property owners and law enforcement officers as conflicts about the use of all-terrain-vehicles (ATVs) escalate, federal officials, landowners and advocacy groups say.
Property owners across the country report that they have been threatened and their homes vandalized by off-road-vehicle users. In Nevada, Pennsylvania and elsewhere, rangers say riders have punched them or charged them with their vehicles.
Riders also are becoming victims. In June, 13-year-old Nicholas Parisot of Wilton, Conn., died of neck injuries after riding his two-wheel dirt bike on private property and hitting a rope tied between trees. Wilton police are investigating whether someone sabotaged the trail, says Capt. Michael Lombardo.
The rest of the article does a fairly good job discussing the controversies around OHV use and the causes of conflict.
I owned two motorcycles when I was in my late teens and early twenties: first a Yamaha 125 enduro and then a Yamaho 400 enduro. These types of motorcycles are essentially dirt bikes (OHVs) that are barely street legal. And yes, I rode on many dirt roads and trails on both private property and public lands.
Once I was riding with a friend on private property. (We were trespassing.) I came hauling ass around a corner and saw a single strand of barbed wire stretched across the trail at chest height. I stopped in time. My buddy just behind me didn’t see it soon enough, but did manage to lay the bike down (meaning he intentionally crashed) just before he would have struck the barbed wire. The barbed wire looked like it had been placed there intentionally to harm motorcyclists.
What do you think of the article? How well does it reflect reality?