The Renville County Board of Commissioners is postponing a decision on opening all county roads to off-highway vehicles for recreational use.
The West Central Tribune reports the motion to delay action for two weeks came after board members heard safety concerns about the prospect of all-terrain vehicles, side-by-side vehicles, mini-trucks, golf carts and utility task vehicles sharing paved and gravel roads with cars, trucks and farm machinery.
“Colossal, bad idea,’’ said Tom Kalahar, a county Soil and Water Conservation District director who said he was speaking as a Renville County citizen. Kalahar told the commissioners that they would be acting in opposition to the safety recommendations of the ATV industry, which warns against their use on paved or hard-packed surfaces.
Kalahar pointed out that the machines are designed for off-highway use, with high centers of gravity and low-pressure tires.
Kalahar and Wayne Zaske, a rural resident, were the only ones to testify at a public hearing on an ordinance being proposed to open the roads to the vehicles for recreational use. Currently, only those engaged in agricultural use can drive off-highway vehicles on county roads.
If approved, the ordinance would allow off-highway vehicle owners ages 16 and over to drive on county roads with the following provisions: they obtain a county-issued permit for $10; they have a driver’s license; they have completed a safety training course; and they have a vehicle that meets safety requirements such as having rear-view mirrors.