by Teviah Moro Hamilton Spectator
ATV riders are “tearing up” farmers’ fields, which Coun. Brenda Johnson says is a problem in Glanbrook.
Coun. Brad Clark says ATV riders whip up and down local highways, side streets and shoulders, resulting in “very scary near misses” and accidents in upper Stoney Creek. 1 / 2
The city will draft a bylaw to bar all-terrain vehicles from roads and highways in Hamilton.
Coun. Brad Clark says ATV riders whip up and down local highways, side streets and shoulders, resulting in “very scary near misses” and accidents in upper Stoney Creek.
Riders are also “tearing up” farmers’ fields, he said, which Coun. Brenda Johnson echoed is a problem in Glanbrook.
“Farmers are pulling their hair out,” Johnson said during Wednesday’s council meeting, noting ATVs destroy swales, which causes fields to flood.
In Waterdown, dirt bikes and ATVs regularly speed down subdivision streets and connecting pathways, Coun. Judi Partridge said. “Many people are walking in these areas.”
They have also “chewed up” front lawns and garden beds, but police struggle to catch culprits due to limited resources, Partridge added.
Coun. Sam Merulla asked that Clark’s motion for a new bylaw to include public spaces, noting a park in his east-end ward is “frequently abused.”
Environment Hamilton recently lamented native plant species that were flattened by off-roaders at the Turtle Meeting Place in the Red Hill Valley near the Woodward water plant.
City spokesperson Jasmine Graham said municipal crews made “minor repairs” to the area’s gravel path and “tended to some plants that were squashed by what appeared to be ATVs.” The plants are expected to rebound, she noted.
Lynda Lukasik, executive director of Environment Hamilton, said just last week a man wearing camouflage was riding an ATV down the asphalt trail in Valley Park near Mud Street West in upper Stoney Creek.
“It was broad daylight,” Lukasik said. “It does seem to be problem in city parks.”
Clark said provincial legislation allows municipalities to pass bylaws to prohibit ATVs on municipal “highways,” a catch-all term under the Highway Traffic Act that includes roads.
His motion, which received unanimous support, asks staff to draft a bylaw to bar off-road vehicles from highways in the city and explore a ban on driving on private property without permission.
The direction to staff also recognizes that farmers riding ATVs for agricultural work would be exempted from any regulations.
Part of staff’s report back to council on a bylaw will include an enforcement strategy, said Jason Thorne, general manager of planning and economic development.