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To the Editor:

It is reasonable to expect a select board to prioritize the health and well-being of the town's citizens. It is also reasonable to respect experts' recommendations when making decisions affecting those citizens. While organizations dedicated to ATV use specifically state on-road use of ATVs is dangerous and should be prohibited, the Pownal Select Board disregards this information.

"The Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (SVIA) is the national not-for-profit trade association representing manufacturers and distributors of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) in the United States. SVIA's major goal is to promote the safe and responsible use of ATVs." https://svia.org/opposition-to-on-road-use/

SVIA is opposed to on-road use and states, "SVIA emphasizes that ATVs are not designed, manufactured, or in any way intended for use on public streets, roads or highways and urges that on-highway use of ATVs be prohibited and that law enforcement efforts be strengthened to eliminate this dangerous practice."

The majority of ATV-related fatalities are from on-road use, according to the SVIA website. "Seventy-three percent of the fatalities occurring on public roads were on rural roads. Of those, 63 percent were on minor roads." The most common incidents are collisions, 35 percent of which are with motorized vehicles.

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For a town select board to ignore this information from ATV proponents and open town roads to ATVs is reckless and endangers all Pownal citizens and those who travel through town.

A recent article in VTDigger and the Bennington Banner noted an "alarming" increase in ATV injuries in the first half of 2020. The article, by UVM Medical Center, states, "The only time an ATV should be on a road is to cross it." [https://vtdigger.org/press_release/as-atv-injuries-climb-threefold-so-far-this-year-vermonters-are-advised-to-follow-safety-precautions-while-riding/]

Why is the Pownal Select Board focused on a dangerous plan to open more roads to ATVs instead of enforcing current ordinances and ending illegal, disruptive ATV activity? Why will they not heed the warnings of ATV experts and doctors? Where is concern for the health and well-being of Pownal citizens? Why is the board wasting time and money on this controversial ordinance rather than addressing more important issues?Wendy Leffel,

Pownal


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