Since its introduction to the general public in the 1960s, the All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) has encountered many controversies. Some of these have dealt with the issue of safety, as first ATVs proved to be too dangerous for riders. Even improved 4-wheel ATVs still signify risks. Another controversy has been the age limits for the riders of ATVs. Many states have banned minors from driving an ATV. One of the controversies regarding ATVs, however, has been the definition of the regions in which they are allowed. Where and when these vehicles are driven has popped up as an issue, as many drivers irresponsibly disregard laws that prohibit the use of ATVs in certain locations.
The issues surrounding ATVs and land usage are many. The major problem is that riders intentionally cross over into privately owned property. They also have made a habit of crossing into public and private properties where they are not meant to be. The use of an ATV is strictly limited to paths, but riders still feel the need to leave these paths and venture on to the property.
Environmentalists are some of the opponents of ATVs. They consider that riders who use ATVs for sporting purposes are inconsiderate of the environment. For instance, they assert that the vehicle is used excessively in areas that are largely considered biologically sensitive, such as wetlands and sand dunes. Environmentalists claim that the deep treads on some ATV tires are capable of digging channels that drain boggy areas. They also assert that these tires damage the careful grooming of the majority of snowmobile trails and increase the levels of sedimentation in streams. Proponents of ATVs, however, argue that the deep-treaded tires are necessary for the safe navigation of muddy and often rocky terrains. They also point to a number of findings which feature the erosion and decay of sensitive habitats to out-of-control housing planning and businesses that extract goods and materials from these highly sensitive areas.
ATV advocacy groups have organized to address these issues. Some of these groups have gone so far as to buy land for ATV riders to use. They have taken steps, such as building and maintaining trails for ATVs and obtaining permission directly from landowners to use their land for riding ATVs. Many of these advocacy groups have dedicated themselves to teaching ATV riders as the ways in which they can safely and responsibly use ATVs.
Unfortunately, those who do not follow the rules often impact the image of the majority of responsible riders. People who see fit to ride trails that are designated off, on private land without permission, and under the influence of alcohol or drugs create a number of problems for those who play by the rules. In addition, self-regulation is difficult since the general complaint against ATVs is they create noise. Although the majority of ATVs comply with noise regulations, there are people whose intentional violation of these rules can disturb the actions of recreational users for miles across landscapes.
Recreationists who are mad about irresponsible ATV use include snowmobilers who feel as if their paths are misused. Hunters have also complained about ATVs, as the loud noise of the engine disrupts their effort. These are but some of the complaints lodged against ATVs and the problems that they bring to land usage and the environment. Groups that support ATV riders have tried a range of methods to reduce the effects of these vehicles. Besides providing designated areas for riders to enjoy, particular advocacy groups have made an effort to educate all those who own ATVs on the safest and most responsible ways they can operate their vehicles.
Caetla promotes responsible ATV riding and safety above everything else.