We live in a very unique place here in Moapa Valley, where almost anyone can walk out their front door, fire up their ATV and, in a very short time, be in a place where it is safe to ride. Heck! The police for the most part (happy, happy, joy, joy!!) even let the general public push the limits of the law on this issue. But alas, I cannot in good conscience remain silent any longer on this issue.
I was driving home from Overton last week and saw a most common, though unfortunate, sight once again: four kids piled on an ATV crossing the highway and not one of them wearing a helmet.
These children probably belong to the same parents who would never think of leaving the driveway without their precious cargo seat belted safely in their seats. Yet they let their kids operate a vehicle with a 400 HP motor without any thought to the consequences that decision could reap.
We have all heard the excuses:
They take the keys without my knowing. Well, put them under lock and key. You would not let them have your car keys. So what’s the difference?
I was busy/gone and I needed Johnny to pick up his siblings from the neighbor. Hmmmm, I’m not even going to comment this one!
Helmets are too expensive! When you’re visiting your child in ICU or planning their funeral, that little safety item would seem quite cheap don’t you think?
My child is very responsible and is a very good driver. Since when does it have to be your fault to be involved in an accident? And if they are so responsible, why are they not wearing a helmet?
The tires of an ATV are made to handle dirt and rocks. Have you ever experienced how those same tires grab the asphalt and make an ATV buck and rip the handle bars out of your hands in a tight or sudden turn? If you have never experienced this phenomenon you’re in for a surprise to say the least.
Before you dismiss this as the ranting of someone who does not like ATV’s let me dispel that notion right now. My husband and I have owned a Polaris dealership and we have sold thousands of ATV’s. We have owned and operated an ATV destination resort and been part of an ATV tour business. We have heard every excuse, story and lie connected to the sport and; no matter how good the story, excuse or lie is; it does not change the outcome of an accident. We have seen thousands of people come back from a day out on these machines very happy and exhilarated. Unfortunately we have also seen them come back paralyzed and yes, even dead.
Our boys rode ATV’s at young ages and ALWAYS with a helmet and gloves at least. Yes, each of them have wrecked to varying degrees; everything from fender benders to being thrown over the handle bars for several feet on the railroad tracks only to lay there in the rocks twitching from the impact. Thank goodness he was wearing a helmet!
Parents, you are the ones ultimately responsible for what your children do. I am not saying don’t let them ride, that is not my intention. But please, stop and weigh the risks of these machines in the hands of young drivers out on the side of the highway. And at least MAKE THEM WEAR A PROPERLY FITTING HELMET!