Press "Enter" to skip to content

Kids don’t belong on four-wheelers

I’m going to make some people mad with this column but, in the wake of another tragic fatality, I feel like I have to get it off my chest. I like to hunt and fish as much as anybody but I don’t like four-wheelers. I never have. I have never operated one and have been a passenger only twice – both times on deer hunts. Back in the early 1980s, we started doing a lot of dove hunting in Macon County on dairy farms in the Mennonite community. The Mennonites were not big on extravagances but they did buy the old Honda three-wheeler ATVs to herd dairy cows. Mennonite children are expected to do their ‘˜choring’ as they call it. It is not uncommon to see primary school aged kids milking cows. The youngsters also started herding cows on the three-wheelers. Several were killed. A handful of others were maimed for life and the three-wheelers disappeared for the most part when four-wheelers arrived. I recall a local game warden being killed on a three-wheeler while searching for a missing child during that same time period. Sadly, almost every fall we hear of at least one young person dying on a four-wheeler. This happens when hunting season opens and when kids get new ATVs for Christmas. With training and experience, mature riders can learn to operate these beasts safely. The problem is many kids don’t get that training. Often they get aboard with little or no safety equipment. We have all seen kids flying up and down the roadside on ATVs and not wearing helmets. Parents would do well to remember that today’s four-wheelers have much more power than those they cut their ATVing teeth on. For years, there was an ATV course near Culloden. Today it is an ATV ‘˜training facility’. I know for a fact that the medical evacuation choppers from the Macon Medical Center had the GPS coordinates for the best landing zone at that facility preprogrammed into their navigation equipment because it was a frequent destination. So, think twice about letting your young child operate an ATV. If you decide to go ahead, buy a good helmet and padded clothing for your child and insist they be worn every time the kid gets on the thing. Then, spend time training your child about appropriate operation. Even more importantly, provide a good example when your child is watching you on your own four-wheeler. The child you save may be your own. Walter Geiger is editor and publisher of The Herald Gazette.

Be First to Comment

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Website by - Copyright 2021