There has been a lot of talk in recent months about whether kids should be allowed to ride ATVs, even the small ones that are manufactured specifically for children. According to a recent report released by the Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Health Information, children under 15 years old accounted for 20.6 per cent of all hospitalizations due to ATV injuries in this province from 2001-2006. Some of the visitors to Downhome's online forum, "The Kitchen," have offered reasons why they believe kids and ATVs are not a good mix.
"I would not let my son ride an ATV until he is of age, and then I would still have to think about it. An ATV is a vehicle like a motorcycle or a car; do we let our 10-year-olds drive them? No, of course not. Kids tend to treat these machines as toys and not vehicles. I don't care how much anyone trusts their kids - they are still children, after all, and usually don't see the danger before them." - Baybee
"I live just yards away from the Newfoundland T'Railway and I see the good and bad of ATV use almost daily. I see the ATV being used at times as a babysitter, with three to four kids on it - some unsupervised and wearing no helmets. We have enough regulations in place; the problem seems to be enforcement." - Newfie Confusus
"Far too many children have access to ATVs, with no question of their ability to operate such a vehicle. If the blatant warnings plastered throughout the owner's manual and on stickers attached to the bike are not enough to deter parents from giving adult bikes to children, what difference is a law going to make?" - Dwayne
"These machines are dangerous when placed in the hands of the young and foolish, and the older and foolhardy. There are numerous accidents yearly that result in serious injury and death. Young kids have been left with permanent damage and will never walk again.
"I visit the province each and every year, and the illegal use of ATVs is reminiscent of the old cowboy movies depicting the Wild West. Despite efforts of law enforcement, people are still using these vehicles on the roadway, with no licence, insurance and helmets. Lots of the units that I hear in the middle of the night have noisy (or no) mufflers and the operators wake us up while we’re trying to sleep, at 2:00 a.m. or later in the morning.
"Again, these people do not get the message that this behaviour is not acceptable. Local police in both South River and Brigus charged a number of people operating these vehicles over the weekend. Despite the previous warnings, the stepped-up enforcement and all of the media coverage, they do not listen. It truly is like the Wild West." - dollars