Tips to keep you and your child safe on ATVs

Tips to keep you and your child safe on ATVs

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Texas State Troopers say a 16-year-old girl and her two friends were riding on the shoulder of Highway 82 about a mile west of Nocona when they were hit by a pickup truck.

They said the 16-year-old died in the crash after hitting her head on the row bar of the ATV.

There were seat belts on the vehicle, but troopers say no one was buckled up.

The other two girls were flown to a hospital in Fort Worth and are believed to be in serious condition.

Following that deadly ATV accident, Sergeant Dan Buesing, with the Texas Highway Patrol, wants to remind riders that ATVs can be fun, but there are safety precautions you need to take.

Sgt. Buesing said statistics show kids 16 and younger are about four times more likely to have an injury involving an ATV crash.

He said children younger than 14 need to have a parent with them, and no one should ride on the road.

"Stay off the public access roadways, and stay in your farm areas, your hunting leases and areas that are designed for those vehicles," said Sgt. Buesing.

He said if you have any questions, call your local off-road vehicle shops.

Beau Barton, Manager of G & S Susuki, says he grew up riding and knows the risks that come with not wearing proper safety gear.

"It's always a requirement of course, first and foremost, to wear helmet and eye protection by the way of goggles, or some guys prefer shades," said Barton.

Gloves, boots and clothes that cover up your arms and legs are also recommended and should be worn no matter the off-road vehicle you are on.

Barton said UTVs, also known as Side-by-Sides, have become popular over the past few years. UTVs have harnesses to keep you strapped in,

"Even though you have that roll cage surrounding you, you still need a helmet you still need protection," said Barton.
However, ATVs do not.

"So naturally on an ATV, you're more exposed to the elements, so you're going to need protection of course even more than on a Side-by-Side," said Barton.

Knowing how to ride safely can also keep you from getting injured.

"Most of the time when operating vehicles at such a young age, kids haven't quite developed the skills as far as knowing where everything's at, or operating everything at the same time in an efficient manner to keep them from wrecking," said Barton.

There are facilities where kids can learn how to ride, and they also help keep them from driving on the streets.

"It's actually a state law. You will not find a UTV that is going to be deemed street legal," said Barton.

That goes for ATVs as well.

It is important to remember that off-road vehicles come in a variety of sizes, and depending on how big or small they are, there are age requirements.

Other safety tips include never drink and drive, use common sense and always keep a cell phone on you in case of an emergency.

If you are caught riding an ATV on a roadway, authorities say you could face a fine and be charged with a class C misdemeanor.

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