Are Dubuque County citizens ready to share county roads with ATVs? They’ll soon wake up to that reality, wondering what happened, as a determined riding club has persuaded supervisors to open roadways to sport riding.

A committee of supervisors and county officials is developing the ordinance, however Chairman Baker has shaped it from the beginning. I wonder how Mr. Wickham is sufficiently informed, as he has missed several meetings. Supervisor McDonough has valiantly tried to bring common sense to the deliberations.

Rider groups endeavored to thwart requirements protecting public safety, even their own safety, by resisting warning flags, slow-moving-vehicle signs, turn signals, mirrors, visible ID numbers, speed limitations, permit fees and inspections.

The overarching mantra is “to err on the side of safety.” Contrarily, recent ordinance drafts favor less regulation, compromise public safety and escalate county liability. Remarkably, the chairman has publicly stated that riders are safer without helmets.

The current push is for more access, even allowing riding in county parks. Swiss Valley would never be the same — but some riders may find it convenient to drive to the bar/restaurants at Mud Lake Park and Massey Marina!

The ordinance essentially dismisses opinions of law enforcement and mayors countywide. Department of Natural Resources input recommended hours of operation of sunrise through sunset; the current proposal may allow riding 4 a.m.-10 p.m. Riding in darkness is a danger to everyone, disregarding safety of all drivers and an affront to rural residents’ expectations of quiet tranquility.

There is scant time remaining to contact supervisors to voice concerns.

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