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Safety First

Elkins City Council looks at allowing ATVs in city

Elkins City Council is set to vote tonight on a proposed ordinance to allow ATVs and UTVs to be driven on city streets.

Council’s Rules and Ordinance Committee voted last week to push the proposed ordinance, drafted by City Attorney Gerri Roberts, on to full council to be voted on during tonight’s meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

Several City Council members have already spoken out against the proposal, and a huge majority of the more than 100 Inter-Mountain readers who participated in a weekend poll are opposed to the ordinance.

In the poll, which asked, “Are you in favor of this proposed ordinance or against it?,” 82.1% of the responders said they are against the proposed ordinance.

By contrast, only 16% said they are in favor of the proposal, and 1.9% said they were unsure about the issue.

Inter-Mountain readers aren’t the only ones against the proposed ordinance.

During last week’s Rules and Ordinance Committee meeting, seven people sent letters to be read during the meeting’s public comment period, including two city council members.

Both Fourth Ward Councilwoman Marilynn Cuonzo and Fifth Ward Councilman David Parker sent comments opposing the proposed ordinance, saying allowing the vehicles to ride on city streets would lead to safety issues and other problems.

In all, four of the public comments opposed the proposed ordinance, while three of the comments supported it.

During the meeting, Committee member and First Ward Councilman Rob Chenoweth said he had been asking his constituents about the proposed ordinance, and noted “some have been for it, but most are against it.”

We have some deep concerns about the ordinance. The document states that only ATVs and UTVs that pass a motorcycle inspection will be allowed to ride on the city streets, but we all know that there are cars on our local roads now that have not been inspected in the last year, and drivers who aren’t insured or don’t even have valid licenses.

Allowing ATVS and UTVs on the streets will only make the job of local law enforcement officers harder, as they will be forced to try to get unsafe special purpose vehicles off the roads before they cause or are involved in dangerous accidents.

We urge Elkins City Council members to keep the safety of their constituents in mind while voting on the proposed ordinance tonight.

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