ATVs or four-wheelers, are definitely helpful to anyone who travels off-road for work, hunting or just enjoys the countryside. Unfortunately they are getting a bad reputation due to careless usage and a sometimes lack of courtesy and respect by a few users.
These handy little vehicles can be hauled in the bed of a truck or on a small trailer behind a truck ready to transport you off road to the trail,across the fields or in the woods in a moment’s notice. How helpful this can be for an elderly or individual with some physical impairment who may not have the endurance level of the youth. For these individuals, ATVs create a jaunt through the forests that would otherwise be a fond memory an actuality.
Unfortunately, as with most inventions there’s a downside. Where 4-wheelers give freedom of movement to people who might be limited in movement, they also give trespassers up a leg on landowners.
Imagine the shock when a property owner finds that four-wheelers or ATVs have designated a portion of his land as a principal thoroughfare. Many farms and homesteads contain creeks and streams that have weekend destinations for ages. At least they were before the 4-wheelers moved in.
Many children and adults alike ignore the fact that in some countries there’s a public waterways law. This is a law that states that any person that rides a motorized vehicle within the bed of any public waterway without written permission granted by the landowner is breaking the law and might be punished.
The disturbance of streambeds and banks is illegal as well. An enjoyable weekend snacking throughout the creek beds carries a countless toll on juvenile fish and invertebrates that may take many years to overcome.
Then there’s always the use and misuse of alcohol. There are many underage drivers who believe there are no speeding tickets or DUIs while driving on private property or in the woods. This is not to say that using any mind altering impairing substance is a good idea while managing a piece of machinery by anybody, but young people with less experience tend to make more errors in judgement as a whole. Get alcohol involved and things can really get dangerous. There are lots of known cases of underage riders as young as thirteen being apprehended hauling coolers filled with beer. If a driver is caught carrying crystal methamphetamine when riding on a streambed, this may cause a search and a felony conviction.
Young drivers often make the mistake of using their family ATV or bike to ride on public streets. They believe this is a way to start driving before reaching the legal age. Needless to say, there’s very few times in such a situation that the ATV rider comes out nicely.
If you own an ATV and have children at home, it would be in their best interests for you to review the guidelines for them as to their safe and legal usage. Don’t wait for the police to come knocking on your door to have this conversation. Where the legislation is concerned ignorance is no excuse and you as parents may find yourselves accountable for damages caused or worse yet having to deal with a personal tragedy that could have been avoided.