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Accidents show need for caution when riding ATVs

'Usage increases with better weather,' sheriff's office says

POSTED: May 26, 2013 11:16 p.m.

Two serious ATV accidents earlier this month serve as caution for another spring/summer recreation activity which, like boating and motorcycling, can cause serious damage.

“ATV usage increases with better weather, and so do the calls involving accidents,” Hall County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Stephen Wilbanks said.

In both the May 12 and May 14 accidents, the ATVs overturned.

The victims, a 22-year-old man and 11-year-old boy, were airlifted to hospitals. Officials described the injuries as “serious.”

ATVs have been a somewhat contentious subject in recent memory.

In 2008, the death of a 7-year-old Braselton boy in an ATV accident prompted child safety groups to advocate a curb on allowing children to ride, and an increase in safety
requirements.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children under 16 not be allowed to operate ATVs.

Sean Oliver, 25, rode ATVs in Hall County and surrounding mountain areas, but said he dropped that activity after an accident involving his older brother.

“I saw my brother get thrown from an ATV, and then the ATV ran over his arm,” he said.

Other than wounded pride, his brother’s arm was OK.

“But I was pretty much done with riding ATVs after that,” Oliver added.

Officials remind riders to be aware of both safety precautions and the state codes governing ATV use.

“Probably the most frequent complaint we receive is ATVs being driven on the streets. They are not legal to drive on public roadways because they are not properly equipped and registered motor vehicles,” Wilbanks said.

“If a person does, they are subject to a host of potential citations, ranging from moving violations to equipment violations.”

Unlike many states, Georgia does not require ATVs to be registered or titled, nor is there a minimum age for ATV drivers or riders, or a requirement to wear helmets.

Wilbanks noted there are “relatively few” Georgia laws that specifically address ATVs, but said a frequent complaint and illegal activity is driving an ATV on private property without permission.


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