Can ATV’s co-exist with pedestrians and cyclists?

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During April’s Council of Mayors meeting, a five-mayor committee was formed to look into the possibility of allowing ATVs to travel on both back roads and the shoulder of the PPJ trail; the group agreed to meet with stake holders in the issue such as the Pontiac Quad Club, the Ministry of Transport, the Sûreté du Quebec, and others to discuss the issue further.

During April’s Council of Mayors meeting, a five-mayor committee was formed to look into the possibility of allowing ATVs to travel on both back roads and the shoulder of the PPJ trail; the group agreed to meet with stake holders in the issue such as the Pontiac Quad Club, the Ministry of Transport, the Sûreté du Quebec, and others to discuss the issue further.
The Journal reported on the topic in the May 4th edition of the paper (page 2) as well as on our Facebook page. We had our largest social media response ever and it certainly got the public talking!
In about a week, the Facebook post received close to 20,000 views, over 200 shares, and 78 comments – some in favour and some opposed. 
Without arguing whether or not it’s a good idea for ATVs to use the shoulder of the PPJ, or whether it’s financially possible to do so given that a shoulder doesn’t exist in many areas and would need to be constructed, or the impact the decision would have on the trail’s Route Verte designation, or whether ATVs would destroy the trail’s integrity, the concept of expanding the ATV network does have some benefits.
Creating direct links between communities and expanding the areas where ATVs can travel would have a positive impact on tourism and would boost the local economy. Look around; many Pontiac families own at least one ATV, as do people from other regions who visit here. Gas stations, restaurants, grocery stores, chip wagons, corner stores, even our various tourist attractions, would likely witness increased traffic. When we add our area’s incredible scenery to the mix, a winning combination has been created.
Most will not argue the potential economic advantages the initiative could have. The largest reservation relates to having motor-powered vehicles travelling alongside a trail that cyclists, pedestrians, and most notably, children, use. In any
situation, there will always be that one “bad apple”, a person who does not
follow the rules. In this situation, that one bad apple could have very serious
consequences.
Is there a way to ensure only responsible, respectful drivers who are mindful and cautious of both the people using the PPJ as well as its surrounding environment (wetlands, people’s personal properties, etc.) will travel along the shoulder?
And will the rules, including speed limits, be properly enforced? This can’t be another situation where rules are passed but when something happens,
various parties stand around pointing fingers at whose responsibility it is, or the entity charged with enforcement lacks the means to effectively do so.
Without thorough, careful thought and consideration, this is a decision that can either make or break this region, and we cannot afford any more breaking.
Allyson Beauregard