I don’t have a beef with ORVs, ATVs and UTVs driving responsibly on dirt roads and designated trails. That’s what they’re designed for. But do they have to be so damn loud?
ATVs exceed the volume of any new car or truck. When an ATV drives by while my neighbor and I are on the front porch, we can’t hear each other speak. When a convoy of ATVs drives by, we go inside the house. When a Chevy Blazer drives by we barely notice. We can send a camera to crawl on Mars but we can't make an ATV operate quietly?
ORVs, ATVs and UTVs were first legalized to drive on public roads to assist farmers and ranchers with easier access to their lands on the other side of the road. Fair enough, understandable and ethical. They were never intended to be toys for hundreds of tourists cavorting around town.
ORVs, ATVs and UTV manufacturers are exempt from the requirements car and truck makers have to implement because they are not designed to drive on the same roads as cars and trucks.
New cars, trucks and RVs undergo collision tests, are equipped with airbags and have to meet strict emission standards and noise decibel limits to make them safe and tolerable to use. They are also designed to drive on highways. ORVs, ATVs and UTVs are not made to meet these same standards. Some don’t even have windshields.
Republican Rep. Phil Lyman claims that it’s wrong to have OHV drivers paying the same taxes and licensing for their vehicles if they are prohibited from driving on roads other vehicle owners are allowed to use.
Yet, Utah State law prohibits OHVs, ATVs and UTVs on interstate highways or any road that has a speed limit over 50 miles per hour. OHVs are not allowed to buzz around downtown Salt Lake City either.
Fortunately, there is a vehicle that can meet the criteria for off-highway use, cruise the interstate, drive on all public streets and be quiet. It’s called a Jeep.
As for allowing ORVs into our National Parks, park superintendents will be justified in solving the horrendous traffic congestion by implementing a public shuttle bus system and banning all private motorized vehicles. Then no one can cry discrimination.
Kaki Hunter Moab