No Small Matter

Marsha Maung

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As the sale of ATVs soar all throughout the country and as more and more kids and parents start accepting ATV riding as a healthy hobby, the number of deaths related to kids riding adult-model ATVs continue to rise along with it. Sale vs. Safety. It’s a clear winner but…. whose at fault?

Is there anyone who is at fault?

That’s the ultimate question that many people find so difficult to answer. After all, even if ATV manufacturers help the government enforce a new rule banning sale of adult-size ATVs if it was intended for a youth under16-years-old to use, it would be hard to enforce. On July 12th 2006, the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s pleas for enforcing the abovementioned rule were, once again, rejected.

We feel that it is not the duty of the Commission nor is it the responsibility of the ATV manufacturers to ensure that the death toll does not continue to escalate. The duty of ensuring that children, kids, youths, teens and whatever name you want to call them should never be allowed to ride an ATV designed for adult-use. It’s really as simple as that. And it is because of this ignorance that parents allow their kids to ride an ATV that is not meant for them. An adult-sized ATV is designed for an adult with adequate skills, flexibility, agility and maturity. Young children do not have the necessary weight, height, stretch and skills to properly handle an adult-sized ATV.

Although most doctors contend that even the kid-sized ATVs are not entirely 100% safe, it is generally agreed that the risk is reduced tremendously and if young children understand safety guidelines, are willing to abide by the rules and also acquire enough skills to handle a kid-sized ATV, they should be allowed to ride their smaller model around.

All in all, the most important thing is for parents to understand that ATVs are not toys – especially not the adult-sized ones – they are indeed heavy machines. So, parents should be taught and educated about these safety rules. In fact, we recommend that ATV manufacturers could do their bit by including a more comprehensive (and attractive) booklet to help educate parents about the use of ATVs. Retailers of ATVs could also help by sharing such information with their ATV customers.

Marsha Maung is an ATV enthusiast enthusiastically promoting ATV riding as a sport and family activity! She runs and is one of the staff for one of the hottest and fastest-growing ATV sites right now. . . .


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