Thursday, December 8, 2016

Dear Select Board Members,

December 6, 2016

Dear Select Board Members, 

In April 1994, when I was a senior in high school, my cousin, Josh Cole, died in a 4-wheeler accident on Tiffany Road. He was 15, a sophomore at Black River. Despite his death & the impacts it has had on my family, I am not against ATV use. However, as their warning labels read, ATVs are not meant for travel on public roads. If you open the unpaved roads in Mt. Holly to ATV use, you will be responsible for significantly increasing the risk of accidents, severe injuries, and fatalities that occur in our town.

Please consider carefully the information presented in the articles listed below as you decide whether or not Mt. Holly's unpaved roads should be opened to ATV use. The authors of the various articles range from experts in the fields of vehicle & highway safety to doctors of emergency medicine to statisticians and policy analysts. After looking at nationwide data, all of the authors conclude that ATV use on public roads (both paved & unpaved) is significantly more dangerous than riding off-road. Furthermore, the "data reinforce the importance of laws restricting ATV road use and the need for effective enforcement, as well as the need to increase user education about ATV road-use laws and the dangers of riding on the roads" (from article 1 below).

Most of Mt. Holly's unpaved roads are connected via paved roads and though riding on paved roads will remain illegal, the numbers of ATVs on those paved connecting roads will predictably increase--especially since we have minimal ability to enforce either this proposed ordinance or the existing traffic regulations. This is troubling, especially in light of research that shows, since 1998, ATV-related deaths have increased at twice the rate on paved versus unpaved roads . However, even if my prediction is incorrect and ATV use on paved roads does not increase, 42% (nationwide average) of all on-road ATV deaths occur on unpaved roads (see article 2 below). 

Thank you very much for your time and for your dedication to the Mount Holly community.

Amanda Frank
Belmont, VT

2. On-road all-terrain vehicle (ATV) fatalities in the United States. Journal of Safety Research, 50, 117-123.

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