Weekends and especially long weekends see an “explosion” of off road vehicles on Tulameen streets, say residents.

B.C. resort town invaded by ‘lawless weekend warriors’

The popular resort town on Tulameen is struggling on how to deal with lawbreakers

An increase in illegal off-road vehicle antics, and a fatal motorcycle accident over the long weekend, has some Tulameen residents demanding change in their usually laid-back resort community.

At the same time , RCMP are planning increased patrols to target off-road vehicle violations in the region, and are looking into solutions for local residents.

“Every year since we have been here there has been a fatality on a quad or a fatality on a dirt bike,” said Randy Halyk.

“I guess the biggest problem is on the long weekends here when all of a sudden the town goes from 200 to 2,000 people. We have machines everywhere. It’s like an ATV and side-by-side explosion..I think there’s a feeling when you come to Tulameen it’s lawless and you can do what you want.”

Halyk is a director of the Tulameen Ratepayers Association, which is organizing a meeting June 2 for concerned property owners who want to keep their streets safe and quiet year round.

He said the problems range from quad and bike riders racing through residential areas, to parents allowing young children to drive off-road vehicles on the pavement without supervision.

“There’s things, like they do wheelies all the way down Otter Avenue..right in the middle of town, to show off I guess. There is one guy, and another guy behind him and another one behind him. The other problem is at night there’s no helmets and no lights and they are driving quads and dirt bikes through town. I guess they are going from party to party, but that’s dangerous.”

A 22-year-old Surrey man, who had just purchased a home with his mother in Tulameen, died May 20 after his motorcycle left the road and plunged 25 feet into Otter Lake.

RCMP are still investigating that crash, as well as an incident the following day near Coalmont when an ATV rider suffered head and leg injuries in an accident.

Related: Man killed after motorcycle plunges into Otter Lake

Related: Head injuries in Coalmont ATV crash

“The worst thing I’ve seen, and this is a couple of years ago, there was a guy doing a wheelie right in front of our place and there was a family with young kids. He wiped out in front of them and missed a little girl by five or six feet. If he had been over a little bit more he could have killed that little girl.”

Gerald Kuva, who retired to Tulameen with his wife two years ago after visiting the area regularly for eight years, said he believes there needs to be more education about off-road vehicle safety.

This week Kuva ordered 25 street signs that say: Slow. Respect Our Community. He plans to erect them in strategic locations.

“The weekend warriors come up and they just wreak havoc in the town. They just run amok through the streets and it goes right from dawn until sometimes two or three in the morning.”

Kuva has seen kids as young as 12 driving off road vehicles through the streets.

“They let their kids jump in these high powered machines and run up and down the roads. Seriously? Tulameen is not a babysitting service.”

Both Halyk and Kuva are off-road vehicle riders, and both say that by speaking out on the issue they risk drawing the ire of some residents who don’t want to see an increased police presence in town.

“We have talked to people who are supposed to be leaders in our community and they just say ‘we don’t want to change anything, we want to keep it the same.’”

RCMP Corporal Chad Parsons said complaints about recreational vehicles are not uncommon in the spring and summer, and last year police issued several tickets in the Tulameen area.

“We do increased patrols in the area. This year there will be seasonal police patrols on quads looking for ATVs driving on the street, or that aren’t registered or don’t have insurance, people riding without helmets and people driving dangerously. So there will be enhanced service for that.”

He said riders can apply at the detachment for special permits that would allow them to cross specific roads, and allow access to the trail.

“There are permits available to allow limited access to the KVR and the forest service roads for both Tulameen and Coalmont,” he said. “These are permits to access trails, not to go do your grocery shopping or to bring a cooler down to the beach and back.”

Halyk said there are many residents who drive their off road vehicles on the street in a responsible manner, and admitted he takes his vehicle to the gas station before heading off to the bush.

“I still want to be able to drive out of my driveway, get to the KVR and go for a ride on my quad. Am I breaking the law? Yes, if I’m doing that I’m breaking the law.”

He said he wants to broker some kind of compromise to keep the worst offenders in check.

Regional district Area H director Bob Coyne said the RDOS cannot intervene.

“Our position is that we support the laws of the province and the laws of the province are enforced by the RMCP and therefore we can’t be involved in the discussion they would like to have…There is no leeway. If it’s not a licensed motor vehicle and it’s on the road you are subject to a $600 fine, end of discussion.”

Coyne said the suggestion that police crack down on just some riders “sounds like having your cake and eating it too…The people who have contacted me felt that they should be able to get on their bike and ride it from their house down to the KVR or off to the forest service roads, but people who come to town shouldn’t be able to do that.”

However he expressed empathy with some peoples’ frustration.

“It’s a situation that is kind of out of control, a little bit. The province didn’t make any ATV rules for many, many years and now we have got rules and those rules don’t coincide with the lifestyle that a lot of people have enjoyed out in the Tulameen area and a lot of other areas as well.”

The Tulameen Ratepayers Association meeting is Saturday June 2, 11 a.m., at the Tulameen Community Hall.

To report a typo, email:
publisher@similkameenspotlight.com
.



andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

A Tulameen resident has ordered 25 signs asking riders to slow down and he plans to place them throughout the community.

Just Posted

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

UPDATE: 5 injured in plane crash following Abbotsford International Airshow

One in critical condition in incident involving vintage plane

Shag Creek area under evacuation order, area expanded

93 properties are being told to evacuate immediately

B.C. Wildfires 2018: Thousands prepare to leave their homes at a moment’s notice

Northwest B.C. and Cariboo seeing most fire activity in province as crews battle 490 fires

Updated: ‘Queen of Soul’ Aretha Franklin has died

Publicist Gwendolyn Quinn reports Franklin passed Thursday at 9:50 a.m. at her home in Detroit

B.C. golfer, just 23, scores the rare albatross

Six-million-to-one shot a first for the Terrace club

Fredericton widow swears at Trudeau during condolence call

Widow of man killed in Fredericton shooting says she swore at Trudeau during condolence call.

Tim Hortons promises leaky lids on coffee cups to be phased out

Tim Hortons looks to rebuild its brand with better lid, new marketing campaign

‘There’s been a lot of devastation:’ man whose family lost homes in B.C. fire

The provincial government declared a state of emergency Wednesday as more than 550 wildfires burn in every corner of B.C.

Capsized tug now out of the water at the mouth of B.C.’s Fraser River

The 19-metre-long George H. Ledcor capsized late Monday.

Aheadbyacentury looking for Triple Crown breakthrough in the Breeders’ Stakes

The consistent Aheadbyacentury has $513,800 in career earnings, including $311,250 this year thanks in large part to his Triple Crown performances.

Search for mudslide victim becomes recovery mission

Valerie Morris was swept away by a mudslide on Highway 99 near Cache Creek on August 11.

Behind the fire line: B.C. firefighters stalked by cougars

A Keremeos volunteer firefighter talks about what it was like to patrol the Snowy Mountain fire

Most Read