CHARLESTON -- Are Mississippi County residents still OK with all-terrain and utility vehicles on public roads or not?
The question was raised by Randy Allstun of rural East Prairie who is staunchly against them.
During the regular County Commission meeting Thursday, Allstun asked Commissioners to reverse that previous Commission's decision and no longer allow ATVs on county roads.
In September 2006, the County Commission approved issuing permits for licensed drivers to operate ATVs on county roads.
Requirements established at that time included equipping the vehicle with a 7-foot-high flag and a slow-vehicle triangle. ATV drivers are still required to obey all traffic laws and must stay under 30 miles per hour regardless of what the speed limit is.
It was also noted at that time the state statute which allows issuing permits for ATVs to use county roads mandates one rider per vehicle, so passengers are not allowed.
And the permits are good only for operation of ATVs on county roads -- not city or state roads.
Allstun said the area he lives just outside of East Prairie's city limits is "saturated" with ATVs.
"Very few are operating them legally," Allstun said. "On any given day I see between 10-30 different ATVs, none with headlamps on, most with passengers, most exceeding 30 mph, four to five either zig-zagging back and forth in the road or cutting donuts in the road, endangering themselves and others, jumping ditches into our fields, entering our neighbors' fields. They have turned the old city dump into an ATV trail. They've stolen the Liberty Links flags from farmer's fields."
Allstun said Inez Tenenbaum, chairman of Consumer Protection Safety Commission, has been quoted as saying ATVs are the fifth deadliest product overseen by the CPSC with 700 deaths and 135,000 injuries annually.
He said riders damage property, including crops, and steal. There have even been clashes between landowners and ATV riders that have escalated into violence.
For the complete article, see the Oct. 14 Standard Democrat.