Do you get tired of making excuses for other people’s bad behavior? If you’ve been exposed to rants from non-friendlies you know exactly how frustrating it is to be painted with the same brush as beer swilling, helmetless yahoos tearing up private property with their ATVs.
Okay, that description might sound a little stereotypical – and it intentionally is. However, we need to get busier doing something about the small minority of ATV riders making life miserable for the rest of us.
I believe it is a leadership-by-example issue of the highest priority for our sport. Clearly, the news media, left wing enviro bed-wetters, politicians and bureaucrats who hate anyone using God’s creation for anything other than bird watching, are on high alert for us. Why? The popularity of ATVing is continuing to expand.
Forget about the effect the economy has had on new unit sales, the aging fleet of ATVs in the field right now numbers in the millions. This sport is displacing dirt biking as the number one off-road recreation based solely on the amazing number of ATVs sold the past decade.
This is great news from a “potential-to-do-good” standpoint and a nightmare from the “potential-to-do-harm” standpoint. It takes a coordinated effort involving legions of responsible ATV users to get good press and improve our reputation. Conversely, it takes only a few – just a teeny-tiny number of brainless morons to undo the good work of thousands.
I know the intelligent and responsible readership of All-Terrain Vehicle Magazine are 100 percent onboard with the responsible use program. We hear from you and appreciate your continued thoughtful actions toward other users and the environment backed up by the good deeds done by ATV clubs and other community based ATV groups. Keep up that good work and don’t let the bad press generated by a few idiots discourage you.
Let’s not ride with idiots anymore. If you have anyone in your circle who is riding helmetless, impaired or doing environmental damage when out on a ride, try this: Don’t call them on Thursday when setting up your weekend ride. Leave them at home!
Similarly, if you see moronic behavior on the trails, do what you can to ensure these clowns don’t get access again to your ride spots. Report irresponsible riders when they break the law and let your local club or association know about stupid activity by stupid people. It’s time to police ourselves.
We’re the good guys. We’re the ones who ride safely, responsibly and look after the environment. We need to let the losers who participate in this sport know we’ve had enough.
As part of the responsibility that comes from being in the ATV press, we spend a lot of time speaking on behalf of the sport in front of people who don’t understand us. We enjoy telling non-participants about our great sport from the right perspective.
Lately, it seems more and more I’m called upon to make excuses for downright dumb activity by the fringe few who continue to pollute the gene pool in our sport. Enough is enough. Let’s get serious about fighting back when these idiots perpetuate bad press and injure our good reputation.
Every motorized recreation has a few who tag along on the coat tails of the hard working, responsible masses. The few who are only interested in participating if they can “do it their way”. The time has come for us to let these clowns know “their way” is dead wrong and it most certainly isn’t “our way”.
Keep living your life as an example in front of impressionable young ATVers. Keep wearing your helmet. Keep leaving the alcohol back at the camp to be enjoyed when the ATVs are parked for the day. Keep staying on trails and not trespassing even when it means riding over some tough terrain when you’re tired and the easy way home would be to trespass.
Your actions make a huge difference to our sport. Every time you do the right thing it makes a difference. Next time you see a loser doing the wrong thing, let them know they’re undermining your hard work and mine.