Worth the Ride?

the moment the story began rolling.unil Friday. I had not seen the actual video pkmWendy Bell and myself introduced Janelle Hall’s story at 5:15

I was aghast.
12-year-old Ashley Ames of Venango County was sitting in a bed at Children’s Hospital – her hair parted — by what looked to be hundreds of stitches closing a huge gash that went the from the front of her skull to the back. Her face was swollen. Her memory was somwhat spotty of the incident.

She fractured her skull after falling off her All Terrain Vehicle ( ATV ) without  a helmet. She not only survived, but is going home just in time for Mother’s Day. It’s a happy ending to a story that just as easily could have taken a turn for the worst.


atv rider

Ashley  Ames of Oil City: A lucky girl because she survived an ATV accident without a helmet. A brave girl because she recovered faster than doctors predicted.

However, I am quite sure it will not be the last time we report a story on a childen being injured, possibly killed, riding an ATV. According to statistics, 250 children die in ATV accidents. Another 65,000 are injured. In a great many of these cases, the children are not wearing their helmets. In Ashley’s case, her father takes responsibility for not making sure she had a helmet on.

While I applaud the father for realizing his mistake … and the young girl for wanting to tell other children about the fate you tempt when you don’t wear a helmet … I am left asking one question.

Why are children even riding ATV?

I know I’m going to get raked over the coals for this, but I just don’t understand why children are even riding these vehicles in the first place. We are talking about motorized vehicles which are every bit as dangerous as cars. I know many children feel completely at ease on these vehicles and many of them do wear their helmets, but youth and inexperience can only tempt fate for so long.

Truthfully, I think you should be 16 to ride any motorized vehicle – be it a car, an ATV or a moped. Just because children aren’t riding these ATV’s in the streets, doesn;t mean they aren’t in danger. In fact, they may be in more danger because I doubt the rules of the road apply to a track of dirt and mud.

Look, there are so many dangers for our children to deal with on a daily basis , not to mention all the trouble they can get into whether it be drugs, alcohol or something even worse. I just think not allowing them to ride ATV’s is one less obstacle to them escaping childhood with all their body parts intact.

 Please feel free to disagree … and I’m sure many of you ( parents and children ) will. I know you will point to safety courses many riders take and that is often a family activity with adult supervision in many cases. Also, I’m sure many of you will cite the fact the overwhelming majority of young riders do wear helmets. I understand all those arguments.  It just doesn’t make much sense to me and I’m not going to apologize for wanting tio put out of  the reach of our children one more possible deathtrap.

I am so happy that Ashley survived the accident and wants to teach her fellow classmates about ATV safety. However, I would rather have them learn about safety at an older age … when they would be permitted to ride these vehicles and I think 16 is that age.

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