Keeping Hoosier ATV riders safe

Posted by: Hannah Carlock  | Monday, June 27, 2016 10:30 am

No parent is ever prepared for the death of a child. One local mother thinks it is time to take action to make sure loved ones no longer receive dreaded phone calls like the one she answered on July 26, 2015, saying her daughter Kate had been killed in an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) crash. As a father and state representative, I am looking into what more can be done to keep young Hoosiers safe while riding ATVs.

ATVs, just like any other vehicle, require certain precautions in order for riders to remain safe. Current Indiana law states an unsupervised ATV operator must be 14 years of age. The state also offers guidelines on appropriate ATV sizes based on the rider’s age and body size:

  • Ages 6-11: Under 70cc
  • Ages 12-15: 70-90cc
  • Ages 16 and older: Over 90cc

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports nearly a quarter of ATV deaths nationwide from 1982-2013 were children under the age of 18. Just last year, Indiana’s Department of Natural Resources reported 247 ATV accidents, resulting in 285 injuries and 16 deaths, with seven of those being children.

As a result of the ATV deaths in our area, I am looking to craft legislation to be considered by the General Assembly in the next session requiring young riders to be educated on how to properly operate an ATV and wear helmets. This proposal would go hand-in-hand with current federal laws set in place for motorcycles.

I am currently meeting with experts about this issue and would like to hear input from our community. I will be at local fairs discussing this matter and I can also be reached at my office via email at h75@iga.in.gov or by phone 317-232-9833. I look forward to continuing this discussion as we work to improve the safety of ATV riders.

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Rep. Ron Bacon (R-Chandler) represents portions of Warrick, Pike and Spencer counties.

A high-resolution photo of Bacon can be downloaded by clicking here.