Earlier this week a dog named Lucy was struck and killed by an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) in my local park. The pup and her family were out for an evening walk on the bicycle paths in Tibbetts Brook Park, where ATVs are banned.
I live in a fairly urban area, so I had no idea people even owned ATVs around here. However, I’ve since learned that illegal ATV use is quite common in parks and even streets.
Most states ban ATVs from being driven in the street since they are fast, noisy, and not designed to be ridden on asphalt. ATVs are designed for off road use, so they are difficult to control on pavement, such as the bicycle path in Tibbetts Brook Park.
In Lucy’s case, while the police were sympathetic, unfortunately it’s unlikely the ATV rider will face any serious charges. He will lose his vehicle, but that’s a small penalty for killing someone’s family member.
The next time I go to the park with the pups (or even to ride my bicycle), I will be extra vigilant about the possibility of illegal ATV riders. It’s important to protect your crew and help maintain the safety of our parks by reporting any vehicles you see. Hopefully in the future we can avoid a tragedy like Lucy's.
Visit the About.com ATV web site to look up your state’s ATV laws and regulations.