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States Risk Political Fallout on ATV Safety Laws

Currently, 29 states have laws on the books mandating that children wear an ATV helmet when riding. On the surface, it seems simple enough; so much so, that one may wonder what the other states are waiting for.

Yet closer examination reveals added complexity. For starters, each state must determine what constitutes a €œchild.€ In many states, a €child€ is deemed anyone under the age of 16, but the age varies. Additionally, some of the states also require riders to have taken a mandatory ATV training course. Some states require both the course and a helmet, others require only one or neither of these.

Perhaps the most troublesome sticking point is the public vs. private property debate. Most state laws apply to ATV usage on public property only. Yet others are struggling with the risks posed by private property as well. Naturally, lawmakers are concerned with passing laws deemed too intrusive, so for now, advocates for greater regulation are taking an incremental approach by first focusing on the public land component.

Of course, there is more to ATV safety laws than just helmets and training, such as refraining from alcohol consumption while riding and being prepared for mishaps while you are away from home on your quad.

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