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Not all ATV riders are the same

June 28, 2017
Lehigh Acres Citizen

To the editor:

I am writing in response to Mr. Welch's article on ATV riders.

I was very offended by the insinuation that they were all drug addicts.

I am 51-year-old resident and business owner, who also owns and rides an ATV. When I was young, we would ride our dirt bikes and camp in the woods in Lehigh. We did not litter or bother anyone, as is the case with most ATV owners and riders. It is only a few of the ATV riders that are causing the problems.

When my wife and I ride, most of the people we see wave and say hello and this includes the deputies. We ride off road slowly and are careful not to destroy any property. We have actually called and reported several ATV riders that were speeding down the roads and destroying property. And the problem with that is the irresponsible ATV owners that are destroying the properties never stop for the deputies.

So I feel that if they target all ATV riders, not just the irresponsible ones, that all ATV owners will become targets and worry about getting harassed when they just want to go for a nice Sunday ride.

Most ATV riders stay on old trails in the woods and do not make new tracks or mess up the area. Mr. Welch wants our land to be enjoyed by all citizens. ATV owners are also tax-paying citizens. And to be honest, we don't see very many people walking in the woods when we go out on our ATVs to enjoy the great outdoors.

There are different types of ATV sport utility vehicles. There are ones for work and play and ones for racing and speed. And if you look closely, you will see which ones are causing the problems.

The state and county have been collecting registration free for years and the money was supposed to be used to build ATV parks, but where are they? Where's the money going?

As for the trash I see, there are more people fishing along the lakes and canals leaving trash, etc. than most of your ATV riders.

As for the riders you saw riding two on each ATV with children and driving fast, etc., all children under the age of 16 are required to be wearing helmets. It is not our fault that some parents are irresponsible.

I think the Lee County Sheriff's Office should be used for more important things that endanger everyone's lives. The ATV riders are not robbing houses, holding up businesses or shooting at anyone.

We're just trying to go out and enjoy this beautiful town that we grew up in.

Gary Patten

Lehigh Acres



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