Keeping Lewis County trails safe for ATV riders

Published: Jul. 1, 2022 at 5:13 PM EDT
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LYONS FALLS, New York (WWNY) - Last winter, Lewis County saw a record-breaking number of snowmobile accidents. Now that the weather is warmer, its residents are looking to keep trails safe for ATVs.

Hitting a total of 7 snowmobile-related fatalities, Lewis County broke a grim record last winter. With summer in full swing, now it’s time for county residents to bring out their ATVs.

On Friday, the Black River Valley Four Wheeler Club hosted a safety education event to help keep trails accident-free over the summer.

“I just thought that maybe it’d be appropriate to message out to everyone that comes here or lives here to ride appropriately and ride safely,” said Mike Leviker, club president.

Attendees were reminded to fasten seatbelts, always wear a helmet, and obey the posted speed limit of 25 miles per hour. These tips may seem like common sense, but club vice president Cliff Johnson says that he often sees people traveling at unsafe speeds.

“You really have to stay 25 miles per hour to be safe. There’s a lot of holes, a lot of rocks. You always need to be safe,” he said.

To help give safety advice, Leviker called in representatives from the county sheriff’s department. One of them, Sergeant Eric Schmitt, says that in Lewis County, ATVs are a way of life. Because of that, the department doesn’t plan to stop at merely educating the public. He also explained that trail-goers will see an increased police presence this season.

“Basically by being out there and being in plain sight for people to see us, hopefully, we’ll deter some people misbehaving on the trails,” he said.

Schmitt says the public is typically welcoming towards deputies on the trails.

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