GILBERT — ATV accidents can happen to anyone at anytime.
The issue of trail safety in the region is becoming more and more important seeing that Trailfest 2015 is soon to be under way in the town of Gilbert.
According to John Fekete, Deputy Director of the Hatfield and Mccoy Authority, within the last month there has been a noticeable increase in ridership for the trails. While Fekete acknowledges that it is indeed trail season, he strongly encourages that everyone remember the rules, regulations and their safety equipment.
“Of course we require our riders to wear helmets but aside from it being a rule, I strongly encourage it personally,” said Fekete. “We have a great safety rate and I believe it is because we push so strongly for the safety of our drivers.”
According to Fekete, the state of W.Va. experiences 30 to 50 ATV fatalities each year while the rate for the Hatfield and McCoy trails are one fatality every two years.
“Each year we give out more than 40,000 permits for the trails. Of course, fatalities are always bad and we never want that to happen but to have such a low rate compared to such a high amount of permits, we are proud of that,” said Fekete.
Fekete also insists that there is zero tolerance for alcohol while on the trails to ensure that every driver is alert and is not driving while impaired.
“The two most important things drivers can do to ensure they’re safety and the safety of others is to wear their helmet and to not drink on the trails.” said Fekete.
Local residents should also be cautious when on the trails regardless of their experience. According to Fekete, it is when people feel most comfortable that they let their guard down and risk having an accident.
“Most accidents happen when you least expect it on the easiest trails.” said Fekete.
Madalin Sammons is a reporter for the Gilbert Times. Madalin can be reached at [email protected] or by phone at 304-664-8225.