On Wednesday, Jan. 2, Darlington Police Chief Jason King gave the Darlington Common Council a report on his department’s contacts with ATV operators during the year 2012. The report was part of an agreement reached by the city and ATV operators early in 2012 when the city agreed to pass a new ordinance allowing Darlington ATV owners to operate their ATV from their homes to the Tri-County Cheese Country Trail. It was agreed at that time that the Police Department would monitor use of the new street routes and report their findings to the Common Council at the end of the 2012 ATV season. In the event the routes were creating problems, the Common Council reserved the right to repeal the ordinance.
Chief King’s report to the council included all ATV contacts, both on the new street routes and on the original Cheese Country Trail. There were four citations and ten warnings issued to ATV operators upon the new street routes compared to one citation and twelve warnings on the Cheese Country Trail. The department received only two complaints from citizens about ATV operators upon the street routes compared to three complaints received about ATV operators upon the trail. There were not any crashes involving ATVs in 2012.
Chief King told the council he did not feel any of these statistics were concerning when considering how heavily used the trail system is in Darlington. Chief King felt that, in fact, the low number of contacts and complaints involving ATV operators on the new city street routes during their first year of access suggests that it will not pose any major problems for the department in the future.
At the end of the presentation the council took no action on the matter, which means the new street routes will remain open during those times the Cheese Country Trail is open to ATV use.