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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Have we passed the point of ‘common sense’ in the name of profit?

Have we passed the point of ‘common sense’ in the name of profit?

The newest Side by Side has hit the media outlets and will soon be sitting on the local dealership floor near you. The new 1000cc Commander is definitely the “latest and the greatest” SxS we’ve seen yet! But is it an aubaine or a dysastre?

With a 78 mph top speed and more complicated electronics than we’ve ever seen on a UTV or ATV it is an incredible display of technology. But more than it’s cost (initial or maintenance) perhaps most importantly it’s another prime example of a new vehicle brought to the market that will do more harm to our industry - all in the name of profit.

Sport quads are great machines for the race tracks and the sand dunes, but they do more damage to the trails, local communities, and the cause for responsible use of ATVs on the wonderful and scenic trails of our great backcountry than their utility counterparts. So why are they so prevalent? Because the manufacturers know that they can sell them. It matters less that they are harmful to the future of ATVs than to the immediate padding of their profit ledger.

That same holds true for the bigger and faster UTVs that are now hitting the market. While there is nothing wrong with the Commander in and of itself, it is more about the type of rider/driver that it is aimed at, and how (and where) they will use that machine to help accelerate the closure of our ATV trail systems.

Why am I complaining you say? Am I not in the business of profiting from this market as much as anyone else? Well yes, I guess – kinda, in a way. The latest and greatest, newest and most trick machines do draw more viewers, that’s true. But there’s something more that I see. I see the damage these machines (and riders) do to the areas where they are used.

Once again, whether it’s ATVs, guns, or alcohol, it’s not the device itself that causes the harm, but the person that chooses how to use it that causes the problem. So, to cut straight to the quick, I see that certain off-road vehicle ‘choices’ cause more harm than others. I’ve been fortunate(?) to have lived in several different locations (all on the edge of the wilderness) and I have seen the destruction that certain vehicles cause, to the trail system itself, but even more importantly the damage they do to the community around the trail system. While many people put up with mechanized off-road travel out of respect to the very users themselves, they tend to be noticeably less tolerant when the off-roaders are loud, fast, and irresponsible and disrespectful.

This sword has two edges, and both are dangerously sharp – and damaging. Certain off-road vehicles are marketed at the less responsible of off-road users, and those less responsible users then take that vehicle to an area (typically away from where they live), and use it (and their behavior) in ways that accelerate the closure of the trails they came to enjoy(?).

This closure affects not only those irresponsible users, but the responsible ones as well.

Some of you may call me crazy. To that I say, “Why are you even reading this? Shouldn’t you be on some other website?” Other’s of you, those that I do this website for, know the danger in irresponsible trail usage. All I’m pointing out is the relationship of the machine they use to their lack of responsible use of our trails. While there are things we can do to help stop the irresponsible users from closing down our trails, I find it equally irresponsible to be profiting from the manufacture of the tools that help them do it.

So, go riding while you can. And smile, as every day there are more idiots on the trails that you are going to have try to make up for with your respectfulness, politeness, and responsible behavior.

God Bless  


  1. Doug
    I tend to agree with you, but I have see changes are in motion to curtail the damaging effects of UTV’s; for the past three years I have attended the National ATV Jamboree in Fillmore, Utah and last year I saw what I think is going to be norm about how ATV’s are going to be allowed and handled on the trails. It all starts with a gate, not just any gate, but a 50” gate, you know as well as I do a 50” gate will keep UTV’s and Side by Sides out and allow the traditional ATV to pass through the gate. While this is a start it doesn’t solve the problem with people tearing up the trails and everything else.
    People are the cause of why ATV’s get such a bad name, and if given the opportunity people will be very destructive in their selection of an ATV or UTV.
    I was out at Five Mile Pass (Close to Eagle Mountain, in Utah) and as I was driving on the highway to get to our destination I looked over to the shoulder of the road and there was a dirt trail that paralleled the highway and on the dirt trail was two sport quads, the riders looked to be young riders in their late teens or early twenties. Now I was traveling at a highway speed of 60 MPH and those two riders were pulling away from me very quickly, I would guess they were traveling 65 or 70+ MPH, neither one of them had helmets on and the dirt trail was not smooth either as each machine would become air borne when each of the ATV’s hit large bumps in the trail.
    Now Five Mile Pass is a ATV recreational area and as such the riding becomes more aggressive than on just trail riding; I realize there is a need for a place like this so people can whoop it up, but it all comes down to responsibility of the rider on how they regard common sense.

  2. I hear you loud and clear! I see it all the time myself. I live in a county in upstate NY that is having a strong political battle between the ATVers and the... well everyone else. And 90% of the complaints raised by those that are trying to prevent the opening of, or close current riding areas are linked to sport quads.

    As far as the Commander, I recognize in the wrong hands it has the ability to cause a lot of damage. Although I must say I'm massively impressed by everything I've seen thus far about it. My hat is off to Can-Am, they listened to what we asked for.

    It's really too bad that people are so irresponsible and/or apathetic to conserve and protect their riding areas. Although it seems to be the way of the county as a whole these days, even with the precious freedoms that our forefathers fought so hard to have (at least thats how it seems to me.)

    God Bless

  3. I see FAR more damage caused by idiots on 4X4 utility quads, than sport quads. The morons think that they can go anyplace, because they have a big, heavy bulky 4x4 quad, so they tear everything up, instead of simply staying on the trail.

  4. I'm sure that's quite possible! I'm basing my opinion on areas in California and Utah.

  5. I have to side with Doug here on this one.

    First, I don't care for UTVs, just a personal choice.

    I do see them being a huge part of the down fall of our great trail system with more and more people buying them and wanting those 50" trails opened up for their travel, they opened two of the 50" trails this year on the Paiute Trail for the UTVs, when will they stop??

    A week ago last Friday I rode up PST 74, Deer Creek Canyon and left only faint tire tracks. On my way home I passed 3 sport quads coming up the canyon and you could see the tracks from them spinning and sliding around almost every corner.

    How much more damage would 100 of those do to the trail vs. 100 sport utility ATVs?? I see it every time I go riding and the new faster UTVs are getting just as aggressive.

    Come and stay in one of our RV parks during a holiday. The vast majority of the loud obnoxious ATVs and UTVs are owned and ridden by the loud and obnoxious campers and they are the ones who are tearing up the trails.

    Sure there are a few 4x4 ATVs that do some damage but not near the amount that the loud and obnoxious ones do.

    I love riding these trails and many others and really hate where the industry is headed, bigger, badder and more obnoxious.

    The way I look at it is if you own a piped sport quad, piped motorcycle or a, and this KILLS ME, a single cylinder Rhino with dual exhaust (LMFAO) stay home, please.

  6. High speed HP and beer, I can hardly wait.
    Just what we don't want here.

  7. I fear that just like youth with lots of money and little taste ruined the sand dunes of Southern California, they will soon be doing the same to the back country trails.

  8. I live in a resort; we have a motel, cabins and a nice RV RV park.

    Speed, noise, HP and beer are always in the same camp. I see it with my own eyes weekend after weekend after weekend and the holidays are a JOKE!!!!

    I guess the "beer" crowd is growing old with me. I saw a group of riders yesterday and I questioned whether they should have ridden past the Road Closed sign. As they all stood there with their beer BOTTLEs (bottles have NO place in the great outdoors) I understood why they were doing what they were doing.

    And I am tired of picking up empty beer cans and beer bottles, easily 3 to 1 over soft drinks.

    But I guess beer and garbage should go under another topic.

    I guess the bottom line is you folks with the loud obnoxious OHVs and a beer in your hand, stay home.

    To answer you question Doug, yes we have passed the point of common sense for the sake of money (short term money).