While our summer days are winding down, the complaints are going up, as residents of Happy Valley-Goose Bay cover their ears and close their eyes against the dust and dirt of the ATV’s and off road motorcycles.
Resident Tara Howse said in an interview this week, “I grew up here. I know that these types of vehicles are a part of our way of life in Labrador. But when you’re reckless — kicking dust, dirt and flying rocks along the side of the roads, or driving on the roads at a high speed — you’re making it bad for everyone who do abide by the rules and regulations.”
We all know Labrador is a great place for enjoying the great outdoors. We have vast wilderness, countless trails and sand pits up to ying-yang located away from residential areas.
So why is there still such a blatant disregard for not only the law, but for one’s fellow citizens? Why do some ATV and dirt bike operators continue to buzz up and down residential roads like a bat out of hell? Is it simply a case of machismo run amok? Or do they simply not care?
The RCMP have also weighed in on this issue stating, “It’s important for the general public to remember that being able to have some leeway with regards to driving ATV’s and dirt bikes in Happy Valley-Goose Bay is a privilege many other municipalities in the province don’t have.”
And indeed that is true. Many municipalities have outright banned the use of ATV’s and off road motorcycles within their town limits, due to the complaints from residents and the potential danger they pose.
These reckless drivers can be found on our roadways, bike trails and neighbourhood streets. Everyone has seen them. And it’s those bad apples that spoil the bunch.
How hard is it to take your time alongside a roadway if needed to get to another trail? Why does one feel the need to zip past at 800 km/hour, kicking up a plume of dust the size of a mushroom cloud? And what is the point of revving one’s engine 500 times in the span of 10 seconds, annoying anyone within earshot?
There were many comments posted on a Facebook thread on this issue as of late last week, as well as comments to the story we posted on our website.
One comment that stuck out was one guy saying (and I paraphrase), ‘The town should build a track for us, so we have somewhere to go.’
There are two things wrong with that comment.
First, there are a zillion places outside of town and away from residential areas for these types of vehicles to ride.
But second and most importantly: the world (or the town) doesn’t owe you a favour.
Riders want a track? Get your friends together. Form a committee. Research the idea. Scout locations. Write a proposal. Present it to the Town Council at a public meeting. If accepted, start fundraising. Pay for or get in-kind services to get the project done. Once completed, have fun.
But wait. That sounds like a lot of work.
And if you’re one of those who can’t be bothered to slow down enough to spare someone a face full of dust, well…not much odds about a track to ride on.
Bottom line: have a bit of respect.
It’s not that difficult a concept.
Bonnie Learning, Senior Reporter