Debate sparked in St. Lawrence when two mobility-challenged drivers had their ATVs confiscated by the RCMP after they were caught operating their machines on the roads.

The drivers are looking for a break, but police refuse to budge.

Kim Brinson, a stay-at-home mother of five, has muscular dystrophy, which makes walking long distances difficult.

For extra cash, she maintains trap lines in the woods with her husband and uses her ATV to get to these traps.

Brinson and her husband were travelling on a St. Lawrence road on their way to check traps when they were stopped by RCMP.

She said she explained to police that she has muscular dystrophy, and needs the machine to earn her living, but police seized her ATV.

"I was kind of devastated, so I asked him could we come back home and get our trailer to safely remove the ATV from the area where he caught us at, and he wouldn't hear tell of letting us do that," Brinson said.

Necessary measures

Const. Mike Janes said he had no choice, and that his mandate is to keep the town's roads safe for pedestrians by keeping recreational vehicles off roads and shoulders.

He said seizing bikes is the only method that works.

"Going light on this kind of issue doesn't solve the problem," Janes said.


RCMP Const. Mike Janes says seizing the machines is the only method that seems to be able to keep drivers off the roads and shoulders. (CBC)

"A small ticket is not going to stop people from driving their ATVs on the roadways."

Brinson said she expected a ticket, not a seizure, but she was even more surprised when she saw that the next ATV driver to have his machine confiscated was a man with no legs.

"Police officers should have some compassion," Brinson said.

"I mean, I'm not asking for special treatment where I have a disability, nor would I think that the other individual involved would expect special treatment, but … to take the quads, to seize them, he's not accomplishing anything."

No exceptions, RCMP says

However, Janes said he is not in a position to make an exception.

"I can't give them a break because they have a physical disability or an issue, and then go and seize the next quad down the road," Janes said.

Brinson said she believes the punishment was severe, and a little over the top.

"Certain police officers, I think do, over exercise their abilities and what they should and shouldn't be doing as a police officer," she said.

"I'm not disputing the fact that we were on the road — I'll take the ticket and I'll pay it." She said she doesn't agree with taking an ATV from someone who needs the machine for a livelihood.

Brinson and other ATV users in the community are starting a petition to lobby the town to make bike driving legal on its roads.

The mayor of St. Lawrence said that residents have been complaining about people speeding through the town at night with their lights out, and the RCMP were likely responding to those complaints.

He also said it's unlikely that the town of St. Lawrence will legalize ATV use on their roads because the liability issues are too serious.