Learning ATV safety

By Matt Butner - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - An ATV accident over the weekend sent a fifteen year-old boy to the hospital with serious head injuries. It happened in the 9200 block of Osborne Turnpike in Henrico County.

The fifteen year old was flown by helicopter to VCU Medical Center with life threatening injuries after his ATV collided with another, driven by a 16 year-old. While these vehicles can be fun, authorities and ATV dealers encourage safety training.

"Had a broken nose, a broken cheekbone, 5 broken ribs," said Bob Mitchell, ATV safety instructor.

Bob Mitchell was wearing his now battered helmet when his 700-pound ATV landed on his head back in 2006. It's the kind of helmet he recommends to students in his ATV safety course. Mitchell and his wife teach riders the importance of proper equipment, as well as how to maneuver a four-wheeler without losing control.

"By nature it has a natural rollover point that's a lot higher than a go-cart or a car or something like that," said Bob.

Kenneth Germain owns Ken's Cycle Center in Highland Springs. He says most major dealers recommend a training course to everyone who buys an ATV. Customers are required to fill out a form that includes a safety checklist. A copy of the form goes to a safety organization, who then contacts the customers to tell them where to get safety training in their area.

"We try to talk safety from the very beginning and carry it through the whole sales procedure, that's our goal.  We want our vehicles operated safely, we don't want anyone hurt," said Germain.

Despite the efforts of safety advocates, not everyone chooses to complete a training course. People like Bob Mitchell hope to change that.

"People want to be outside and enjoy nature, and experience a little exhilaration when they do it. So that's one of the things we want, is to promote the fact that they can do all of that, but we want them to do it safely," said Bob.

For more details on the safety course, as well as some more ATV safety tips click here.

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