More respect needed
Itís something you hear about all the time.
You hear about some ATVer or snowmobiler riding through the bush, showing complete disregard for their surroundings and travelling wherever they want no matter whether itís on private property or not.
From all the attention these people get, one would think theyíre the majority of operators. But thatís not the case.
In fact, itís the bad apples who get all the attention who are ruining things for those who ride simply for fun and follow all the rules to a T. Itís those negligent and disrespectful riders who are the reason why the town and county have deemed it necessary to enact bylaws dictating how off-highway vehicle operators can use the vehicles they paid good money to buy.
But itís not just those riders who go wherever they want and do whatever they feel like doing. Thereís also the matter of what happens when regular people just living their lives encounter these riders and attempt to assert their right to their land.
Itís times like that when the riders get overtly hostile and act like they have the right to do whatever they want.
And thatís not right.
There is no reason why someone should be threatened on their own property by others who are not supposed to be there.
Tales have been told of riders tearing up fields by doing doughnuts, or threats of physical violence towards landowners who have the audacity to ask riders to get off their land.
Of course the public as a whole should demand that something be done to restore order and civility.
And it is clear why the bylaws are needed. If there are people doing things they should not be doing, there need to be penalties. Thatís just the way it is.
However, the problem is enforcement. In order for penalties to be handed down, the perpetrators need to be caught in the act, which is easier said than done.
The RCMP and community peace officer Jonathon Kerr canít be everywhere at once. They canít follow every rider to make sure he or she is not violating the laws put in place. And they canít respond to every complaint.
So what is the answer?
What is not the answer is vigilantism. No matter how bad the riders act, and no matter how vile the threats they may utter, it does no one any good to take matters into their own hands. In many cases, doing so opens the person defending his or her rights to more grief and repercussions than simply reporting the offence to the authorities.
So, again, what is the solution?
Be vigilant. Make notes on what you witness, with as accurate details as possible. If possible, a camera system may be necessary to catch the riders in the act.
But above all, donít provoke a confrontation.
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