Pokony Wonders Why Board Wishes to Accommodate Non-Residents
August 11, 2022
York Township will hold a hearing on a proposed ordinance allowing ATV/UTVs to use three Township roads on August 30th at 7:00 p.m.
The objections raised at three Township meetings by numerous residents - and by the York Township Planning Commission in its official ATV/UTV Use Recommendations - focused on safety. The Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (SVIA) is the national not-for-profit trade association representing manufacturers and distributors of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) in the United States. SVIA emphasizes that ATVs are not designed, manufactured, or in any way intended for use on public streets, roads or highways and urges that on-highway use of ATVs be prohibited and that law enforcement efforts be strengthened to eliminate this dangerous practice.
There have been eight fatalities in Wisconsin involving ATV/UTVs since the beginning of 2022. Six of the eight occurred on highways. A collision last week on Highway 11/81 caused injury to the 15-year-old driver of an ATV who collided with a pick-up truck. Green County law enforcement has indicated that due to low staffing levels they could not promise to enforce all safety regulations much less say designated routes. York Township roads have no shoulders, many curves and hills and no center stripping. At a top legal speed of 35 mph, an ATV (driven by someone as young as 12) creates a hazard by forcing other vehicles to follow behind them until inevitably they attempt to pass despite sight lines that prevent seeing traffic approaching on the hill or around the corner ahead.
Allowing ATV/UTVs on three of our roads, Gould Hill, Yankee Hollow, and Vinger, makes no sense at all. Those roads are not straighter or flatter and thus more safe than other township roads. Choosing those roads to accommodate non-resident convenience is unfair to residents who live on them as it exposes them to more driving hazards. And it puts other resident ATV/UTV owners at a disadvantage.
So WHY? Given that the Board got a recommendation to oppose the idea from its own Plan Commission and public comments by residents at Board meetings ran heavily against allowing ATV/UTVs, why did the Board go ahead with this ordinance? Was it pressure from non-residents to support our neighbors? No one needs to feel obligated to support a neighbor’s recreational choice if that support puts them or their family in reasonable danger. There are far more effective ways to support neighboring communities – e.g., patronize businesses, support local events, subscribe to the local paper. I urge York Township residents to show up for the hearing and make clear their preferences regarding ATV/UTVs on our township roads. Otherwise, non-residents will have pushed through an ordinance that compromises our safety. I am counting on our Township Board to hear its residents, resist pressure to follow the non-resident crowd and bravely make the decision to keep ATV/UTVs off York Township roads.