ATV Laws Possibly in the Works

Tuesday, July 22, 2008
And only a few deaths too late. The death of an Edmonton area man over the weekend while riding an All Terrain Vehicle is one of a growing number of serious injury accidents and fatalities occurring in Alberta. The numbers have increased so dramatically over the past few years that it's raised the issue of whether or not a change in regulations surrounding the use of ATV's needs to be examined.

The Liberals are arguing that ATV's should be treated as motorcycles. I have to admit that I was surprised to learn this week that they're not. There are in fact very few regulations regarding ATV usage on private property. On public land, those under 14 years of age must be accompanied by an adult. And drivers are NOT required to wear a helmet. Have you seen the size of an ATV? They're close to the size of a convertible Smart Car. And the name itself even let's the stupidest person out there known that they are all-terrain VEHICLES. The laws that apply to motorcycles, cars etc. should apply. Why are these particular machines so special?

There's talk about safety training, helmet laws (hello! mandatory for bicycles and motorcycles), as well as licensing and age limits but all of these suggestions are being met with resistance from one group or another. Even the Minister of Transportation said on the news that these aren't the answer. I found his comments to be quite dismissive and flippant, especially when he compared driving an ATV to downhill skiing. Something along the lines of are we going to make skiers wear helmets because they MIGHT hit a tree? I think the whole issue is ridiculous. It's a motor vehicle. If you require a licence to ride a scooter, moped, motorcycle, car, truck, bus, etc, you should have to wear one while riding an ATV. And kids under the age of 16 can't drive a car so why should they be allowed to drive an ATV, especially without any licensing or safety training required. Frankly I wouldn't trust a 16 year old on an ATV, I barely trust them behind the wheel of a car. I remember what I was like (and my brother, his friends, my friends and every other teenager I knew) at that age. I almost flipped my dad's Hyundai Excel going around a sharp corner without slowing down. Nope, not exactly responsible driving.

If you live in Alberta, I'd encourage you to write to the Premier and to the Minister of Transportation and tell them your views on regulations surrounding the operation of ATVs. For those of you outside of Alberta, check your own laws regarding the use of these sorts of vehicles. You might be surprised at how lax they are in your areas as well.

Oh sure, the 5 year old in the picture on the right looks happy. Until he loses control, rolls into a ditch and the vehicle he's driving crushes him to death. Yep, that'll wipe that smile right off his face. And that of his parents. You'll notice they didn't even get him to wear a helmet. Sad.


Johnny Yen said...

My parents moved to rural Tennessee when they retired, and were horrified to see their neighbors allowing their kids to run around wrecklessly-- across roads, in front of cars, etc. They've since moved into the city (Knoxville) and don't see it. They fully expected to see one of those kids get killed.

Johnny Yen said...

That should have read "run around wrecklessly on ATV's"

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