Off-road riders encounter hazards

Off-road riders encounter hazards

CUMBERLAND – Local motorcyclists, bikers and ATV enthusiasts say they’ve been finding metal wire strung up at neck height across the trails they ride in town.

Resident Chris Martin said riders immediately cut down the cords after finding them on trails off Mendon Road, around the Cumberland and North Attleboro line and paths that run along Route 95 on the Cumberland and North Attleboro border.

Martin said friends of his in the riding community who did not wish to be named informed him of the wires. He said he wasn’t personally riding the trails.

Martin said that when towns or environmental police put up barricades, “They definitely do it the proper way where they’re not endangering (people),” and post signs.

Cumberland Police Chief John Desmarais said the police department would “absolutely not” string wires across trails like this.

“It is not any law enforcement agency or police department that is doing something like that, nor would we do something like that,” he said.

Desmarais continued, “We realize the danger that it can create to the riders themselves, and people who are walking,” and added that police would continue to watch those areas, just as officers have been monitoring the Arnold Mills area by the Pawtucket Water Supply reservoir to curb ATV activity.

Martin’s Facebook post about the wire sightings was shared some 650 times on Facebook, garnering angry reactions from readers concerned about the safety of riders.

Martin said some people will block entrances to trails with materials like rocks or piles of downed trees, and “that’s not a safety issue.”

Reports of metal wires, however, were a first, he said.

“It’s going to knock them flat,” he said, speaking of anyone riding through the area. “If I hit that … I’m going to break my neck,” he said, explaining that he’s roughly 5 feet off the ground when sitting on a bike.

Martin said riders “don’t cause any trouble.” Those he knows don’t rev their engines, ride recklessly or pop wheelies.

He said he understands that some of the younger riders do this, but he said, “Just because some people cause issues doesn’t mean it should ruin it for everybody.”

Martin said he would rather see young people riding dirt bikes than getting into worse hobbies, adding that Rhode Island is unlike other states, offering no true designated area for riders to go.

He said he’ll travel to New Hampshire with his friends, where riders can get temporary registrations and ride around certain mountain trails and roads.

Martin, who has been riding for about 13 years, said years back, plenty of people rode near power lines in neighboring Massachusetts towns without a problem, but the areas today are more strictly patrolled.

Martin said he believes the people stringing wire have “a vendetta against the people that ride.”


To Chris and other ATV and dirt bike riders, why don't you organize and purchase your own property then you can ride Legally to your hearts content. Right now you are breaking the law by riding and destroying private and public property. In Rhode Island to my knowledge, there is no public land that allows ATV and dirt bike riding. Also, I see plenty of ATVs and dirt bikes ridding illegally on streets many of them speeding and doing wheelies. So organize, save your money and buy some land and everyone will be better off.

You have no right to ride there. Go to private property of out of state where it's allowed. You have no right to be there.

Thanks to the Cumberland Police for posting the following advisory on their website beginning in April: "ATV Alert - With warm weather upon us, ATV and dirt bike complaints have increased. The Cumberland Police are aware of this problem and focus attention on areas where we receive complaints. PLEASE REPORT ANY ATV ACTIVITY IMMEDIATELY." It is reassuring that town police are evidently taking this "quality of life" issue for town residents seriously.. Ultimately, I think that it is the parents of these out of control youths who are ultimately responsible for this reprehensible behavior.

I APPLAUD the dirt bikers and ATV riders who continue to enjoy their sport despite Cumberlands continued divestment from unstructured recreational activities. The current comments here have one backbone- its against the law. What are kids suppose to be doing during the summer months? There ARENT any laws against skateboarding on public roads- but i still get the cops called on me while im out with my friends. This is a regional trend towards a crackdown- but not on illicit activities- on fun. Old folks in this town still think this is a rural commmunity devoid of modernization; but the younger crowd NEEDS somewhere to go. Shame on you Albion123, and Skypilot. You have NO moral standing to try and stop people from enjoying their hobbies. Cumberland and Lincoln have the HIGHEST pot use among teenagers in the ENTIRE COUNTRY because of people like you who wish to see our town used for nothing but for little league games! I will continue to skateboard on roads in which residents complain- because it is OUR road, not yours. And i implore ATV and Bike Riders to continue to use public lands for their hobbies until the state provides us with alternative locations to use. THESE KIDS ARE NOT CRIMINALS, THEY ARE BORED- AND THE TOWN AND AGING RESIDENTS ARE TO BLAME FOR THEIR LACK OF RECREATIONAL OUTLETS!

Yes, riding ATVs/dirt bikes on private property without permission as well as at any time on the monastery paths are unacceptable but give me a break. You're basically setting booby-traps with an intent to cause serious harm.

Post no trespassing signs, set up game cameras, block trail entrances, call the cops. Don't try to decapitate riders.

Stringing wire across at head level and all you people can say is..."stop riding here and go somewhere else"! Typical Rhide Island mentality. How about this...if and when someone gets killed from those wires, there will be a murder charge coming their way.

How stupid is the state of RI? There are 15 public parks in NH where registered ATVs and motorcycles can be ridden for half the year. In the winter months, the registered snowmobilers get to use them. The trails are maintained by the thousands of members of the various riding clubs throughout the state. There are some places with overnight camping and family picnic areas to enjoy. The state of NH understands how to make it work successfully for the betterment of everyone involved. I say everyone because this activity is good for the community AND good for the state, as it brings in lots of money in sales of equipment and services, and, as such, generates tax revenue. The clubs are busy year round in the communities volunteering and socializing. In NH, motor sports are considered family activities, and it's not uncommon to see entire families having a day of fun of the trails. Here is RI, riders are law-breaking felons, always being chased! When you see what they do in NH, you can't help but see just how dumb RI is.

Hey, OnceAgain (et al),

You know what a strawman is? That's when your having an argument and someone intentionally misrepresents a proposition that is set up because it is easier to defeat than an opponent's real argument.

I never said it was right to string wire up across the trails and I never said I wanted anyone hurt. I merely said that they are risking injury DURING THE COMMISSION OF A CRIME.

If your argument is there should be a place for people to ride, OK. Follow the proper channels. Change the law. Find someplace legal.

I couldn't care less if you bought an ATV and have nowhere to ride it. You could buy a yacht in Iowa and that doesn't mean the public is responsible for providing an ocean for you to sail it on. If you so something like that, it's your problem.

As for this somehow being the only way kids can stay out of trouble (isn't trespassing and destruction of public and private property "trouble")? That's simply not true. There are plenty of options to stay out of trouble. I know I never had an ATV. My kids don't have ATVs. The vast majority of kids in the area don't have ATVs. Does that mean they have nothing constructive to do?

Bottom line: Save it for the police. I'm sure they'll pay close attention to your argument.

Agitated , What part of please do not ride your dirt bike on my land don't you understand? People buy these machines before they think on where they are going to use them . Would you buy a boat if you lived in a dessert? People smoke pot because the state doesn't supply a place for children to play, don't think so . I get the feeling you feel entitled are you a millennium child? well guess what us old people owe you NOTHING,ZILCH NADA. So may I suggest that you have mommy or daddy buy you a place of your own then you can PLAY nice with your friends.

I have lived here for 23 years and I think the issue of dirt bike and ATV riders has come up every one of them. The complaints center around land use, and noise, and they are legitimate complaints. Booby trapping and barricading trails will do nothing to stop it. Realistically there isn't much the police can do. The problem isn't going to go away, and it isn't going to solve itself. This issue isn't unique to Cumberland. Until the state steps in and sets up designated trails that allow this use, which they do for snowmobiles, the problem will continue. Every other New England state allows dirt bike and ATV use in designated areas on designated trails. There are suitable trails at Acadia, Big River, and the George Washington Management area. Having a place to ride legally will eliminate the majority of illegal riding state wide. The "Town of Cumberland" comment that Vilifies the riders as out of control youth displays how tone deaf the leadership in this town really is. Instead of steering us to the police website, why not do something to address the problem with the state.

I rode dirt bikes way back in the 70s and 80s. It was a problem then, just as it is now. I got chased by the police many times. I never drove over people's lawns or raced around on the roads, but nonetheless still got chased. Why? Because this is a small state with small-minded people. "Not in my backyard" mentality as they fire up their obnoxious lawn mowers or endanger kids' lives by flying down the road, late for whatever. Oh, you all are not innocent. You are a nuisance in one way or another. I love this state, but the people...not so much. Small minded, petty complainers, who aren't happy unless they are making someone else's life miserable like their own.

Again, no problem here if you lobby your reps to change the law. No problem if you buy private property. The process will give all sides a chance to voice their arguments. Then it will go to our reps to decide whose argument is more valid. That's democracy, that's America. USE THE PROCESS AND YOUR RIGHTS.

Until then, follow the law. You can't just say "I don't agree, so I'll do it anyway." That's criminal.

On another note, I strongly disagree with the notion that if lands are opened up. That will prevent riders from using lands not so designated. No way. It'll just embolden the people already doing it.

Also, for a very long time, common law has held that a person's right to enjoy a peaceful home outweighs someone else's right to disrupt the peace. So the homeowners near these sights are having something important taken away and the courts have consistently upheld their rights. So good luck. Read the case law.

Finally, it's quite easy to take care of if someone is riding on public lands. Find out who they are. Report them, by name or by the license plate of their trucks. If they live nearby, you already know who they are.

Read the article. Typical Rhode Island. No designated places to legally ride, but they require you pay to register your ATV ? Meanwhile, in California there are "State Vehicular Recreation Areas"

We all look at these ugly power lines in town,let's make a good use of them. They are really ugly

How many RI"s fit into California. Maybe that"s why they their are so many places to ride. If you are a skier you move to the mountains, a surfer move to the ocean , a dirt bike rider California is the place to be. As far as power lines they are posted NO TRESPASSING that"s if the signs haven"t been torn down by people riding .

Whether or not anyone should be dirt-biking in town is not the point here. The point is that some idiot thought stringing a wire across the trail at a height that could decapitate another person is the point. Whoever did this is no better than a murderer, because that may be what they become, when all is said and done. What a terrible, terrible - and stupid - person to put up the wire in such a manner as to violently harm another person. I'd like to see them charged with endangering another.

Absolutely. They should be charged. They're breaking the law by stringing those wires, and they are doing it in a horrible way.

But, aside from that, and again I don't condone it, stop trespassing and you'll not put yourself in danger from lunatics stringing wires across the trails.

The people stringing the wires are wrong. The people trespassing and destroying public and private property are wrong, too.