There have been several serious ATV incidents in Manitoba this year. This is a sad reminder that there is a great need for us to educate all riders on appropriate ATV usage on the rural landscape.
Farmers have a love-hate relationship with ATVs. They are useful around the farm to check fields or fences, move augers, or run for tools. In someone else’s hands, they can tear up fields, destroy crops, and give people an all-access pass to our private property.
The machines themselves are not the problem. The problem is the lack of respect for landowners and our rights. When snowmobiles started gaining popularity we faced many of the same challenges. By working with snowmobiler organizations, we are educating the users about respecting landowners while encouraging safe riding. We can do the same with ATVs.
It’s time to focus on these machines because they are being marketed aggressively as “toys” to a sector of the population that is not always aware of the damage they can do. We all need to be more aware of safety around ATVs as they are large and powerful machines that can unfortunately sometimes cause severe injuries or fatalities. Please ride safe this fall.
Ian Wishart is president of Keystone Agricultural
Producers. He farms near Portage la Prairie.