Yukon North Of Ordinary

News archive for April 27, 2012

Respondents have their say on ATV-related issues

The City of Whitehorse has released the findings of its recent ATV task force report, an initial step in the development of new ATV legislation, slated for council’s review this summer.

By Max Leighton on April 27, 2012 at 3:33 pm

photo

Photo by Whitehorse Star

Dave Pruden

The City of Whitehorse has released the findings of its recent ATV task force report, an initial step in the development of new ATV legislation, slated for council’s review this summer.

The survey, conducted between March 29 and April 16, polled 127 Whitehorse residents for public input into what future such legislation may look like.

The findings show public support for developments such as new trail maps and safety measures.

The survey saw 90 per cent of residents in favour of the development of maps, outlining motorized vs. non-motorized trails.

Those maps may even be usable with technologies such as Google Earth and smart phones.

Eighty-six per cent of residents polled were also in favour of increased signage on trail networks; 84 per cent favoured developing more multi-use motorized trails; 81 per cent supported an increase in environmental and wildlife protection on municipal trails; 83 per cent favoured allocating ATV fines to trail development; 82 per cent wanted to make helmets mandatory; while 82 per cent also wanted to put trail maps online.

Other recommendations include requiring a special permit to operate an ATV within city limits, designating specific trails for off-road vehicle use and for pedestrian use and initiating wildlife protection measures.

Most of the 25 recommendations would be included in future bylaw legislation, though city planners did object to one which would replace the term ATV with off-road vehicle (ORV).

“Regulators thought that since ORVs also include snowmobiles, which are regulated separately and could cause some confusion,” said Dave Pruden, the city’s bylaw manager.

He also pointed to several other provinces and territories with similarly named ATV legislation.

The rules would be close in line with the city’s snowmobile bylaw, said Pruden.

The report recommends setting a speed limit for ATVs at 30 km/h, like the snowmobile bylaw, while the proposed fines, helmet requirements and education component would also be alike.

They would also be similarly enforced.

The city would hire another bylaw officer, but would also rely greatly on citizen input.

“We’re not going to catch everyone who wants to break the rules that way, but there are also a lot of people out there with digital cameras, iphones, etcetera, and we certainly respond to complaints,” said Pruden.

Currently, more trails are available to snowmobilers in the community.

“One reason is that the City of Whitehorse has had a longer relationship with the Klondike Snowmobile Association,” said Pruden.

“But there have been several ATV groups who have come forward, and we are working with them.”

Differences between proposed ATV legislation would include trail access, in some cases barring ATVs from trails which in the winter are safe to ride, but throughout the rest of the year may be environmentally sensitive.

The additional cost to the city isn’t likely to be high, said Pruden.

Though new trails will be developed and signage made, both of those developments are already part of the long-term planning of the city. Some funding will also come from the federal government.

Once the draft has been completed, it will go through the bylaw process, which will include further opportunity for public comment, said Pruden.

The draft legislation will be delivered to city council in June.

CommentsAdd a comment

bobby bitman

Apr 27, 2012 at 3:57 pm

What if a friend comes up to visit for two days and you want to take that person out on a dirt bike.  How is that person supposed to get a ‘Permit to operate an ATV in the city of Whitehorse’?

B

Apr 27, 2012 at 7:27 pm

127 residents? Half a percent of the population of Whitehorse. Very misleading results. Maybe if 10% of Whitehorse is surveyed then I MIGHT take it seriously.

Poly

Apr 27, 2012 at 11:55 pm

The motorized vehicles (trail bikes, quads, skidoos) that use the trails south of town (Wolf Creek)can be very noisy.

Far more people walk on the trails than use motorized vehicles, but vehicle use can kill the concept of a quiet walk. Virtually all of the people who walk have dogs along if that’s helpful.

It would be nice if the vehicles were just left at home.

Jimmy

Apr 28, 2012 at 11:33 am

The trails already have signs barring motorized vehicles; no one gives a crap, this won’t make a difference.
The only real change will come when fines are handed out and enforced.
And while you’re at it, outlaw “modifications” such as exhaust and muffler removal; I’m trying to lead a peaceful life here.

SHANE

Apr 30, 2012 at 8:35 am

The survey to be taken seriously would have to be done with the whole population I for one will not stop to get a ticket until all of Whitehorse has a say I welcome bylaw to follow me into the back country and will see how that works out

Guncache

May 1, 2012 at 7:48 am

These are just more bylaws that the bylaw department themselves cannot enforce.  Unless it has changed the city bylaw department cannot do moving violations.  I will certainly grant that there are morons out there who don’t care what law is passed and these are the type who ruin a good thing for everyone else.  Personally myself when I am out on a snowmobile or ATV and come across a non motorized user I pull well off to the side and slow down or stop.  I wish all motorized users would do this.  Now I wonder what rocket scientist dreamed up the mandatory ATV course.  I can see that for a youth but I have been riding ATV’s longer than these policy scientists have been around and personally will not take it.

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