In 2015, 11-year-old Kate Bruggenschmidt died in an ATV accident when the vehicle rolled over onto her. Kate was declared dead at the scene with a crushed skull. She was not wearing a helmet.
This past year alone, two minors have died in ATV accidents, and in neither case was one of the children wearing a helmet.
Following the accident, Kate’s mother, Ashlee, took action to help prevent other children from the same tragedy. She began pushing for laws that require minors to wear helmets on ATVs, believing that a helmet might have saved her daughter’s life.
This summer, Ashlee’s hope became a reality. Governor Eric Holcomb signed a new Indiana law requiring that all children under the age of 18 wear a helmet while riding or operating any type of off-road vehicle. The law went into effect this past Saturday, July 1, 2017.
The new law requires any child riding an off-road vehicle to wear a helmet that meets federal safety standards, whether she is riding on private or public land. If this law is broken, the owner of the vehicle will be held responsible and could face a Class C infraction and a penalty of up to $500.
8 Safety Tips for Riding an ATV
ATVs can be dangerous even if you are wearing a helmet, so here are a few more safety points to keep in mind before you go off-road driving this summer:
1. Wear the Right Gear: Helmets are important, there is no denying that, but they should not be the only necessary part of your attire. Be sure that with your helmet you also wear appropriate goggles, boots, and gloves.
2. Ride the Right Size: There are many different sizes of off-roading vehicles. Some of the worst accidents occur when one rides an ATV that is not the right size for him. Be sure to research before you ride, and be sure that you are on the vehicle best designed for your weight and size. The general rule is that anyone under the age of 16 should only ride vehicles with engine power less than 90cc.
3. Stay on Your Trail: It is important that you remain on your trail. Leaving the designated trail is dangerous for both you and others. Also, be sure to avoid paved roads where another car can hit you.
4. Never Ride Under the Influence: Operating any vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol is not only a bad idea, but illegal. An ATV is no exception.
5. Ride with the Right Number of Passengers: A single person ATV is for one person only for a reason. It is only designed to safely carry one person. Be sure that your ATV is specifically designed for two people before you let a passenger join you on your vehicle.
6. Don’t Speed: No matter how fast your ATV can go, be sure to always keep a safe speed on your drive.
7. Inspect: Be sure that you inspect your vehicle before every ride. Look for damage in the tires, rims, cables, and chains.
8. Let Someone Know: It is encouraged that you always go off-roading with a partner. However, if you do decide to go alone, be sure to let someone know you are going and approximately what time you may be back in case anything goes wrong on your drive.
Summertime is the perfect time to go for a ride on an ATV. However, be sure that you are putting your safety first. If you’re under eighteen, it’s not only a good idea to wear a helmet—as of this weekend, it’s the law.