Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Editorials

February 3, 2014

A minor change

Helmet laws for ATVs are extremely difficult to enforce

FRANKFORT — In an ideal world, all people would wear helmets when riding all-terrain vehicles simply in the interest of safety, but effectively enforcing a law that would require all ATV riders to wear helmets would be mission impossible. That’s why we have no strong objections to Senate Bill 64 that would slightly expand the instances when people can operate ATVs without helmets.

Current law allows ATV operators 16 or older to ride without helmets when on private property or for farming, mining, logging or other business activities. Those under 16 must wear helmets whenever they are on an ATV.

Under SB 64, the helmet requirement would not apply when ATV riders cross roads with speed limits of 55 mph or less. Sen. Sara Beth Gregory said Wednesday the issue was brought to her attention by trail riders who were cited for crossing roads without helmets.

SB 64 has cleared the Senate Transportation Committee.

Kentucky Office of Highway Safety Director Bill Bell said he opposed SB 64 for safety reasons. He said Kentucky had 12 ATV-related fatalities last year on roadways.

There is no question that ATVs can be dangerous and that helmets make them safer. But how can you enforce a helmet law when many, if not most, ATV riders are on private property miles from the nearest state highway? Simply put, you can’t.

One would hope that many ATV operators and their passengers put safety first, but we know that some don’t. However, we can’t see how enacting an unenforceable law regarding ATVs is going to do much to improve safety.  If all ATV riders are doing is traveling 20 or 40 feet across a highway without a helmet, they are doing little to increase the danger.

A far more dangerous practice is adults who allow small children to operate ATVs that they have neither the strength. maturity or experience to do safely. But that’s already against the law. It’s just difficult to enforce.

Current law allows ATV operators 16 or older to ride without helmets when on private property or for farming, mining, logging or other business activities. Those under 16 must wear helmets whenever they are on an ATV.

Under SB 64, the helmet requirement would not apply when ATV riders cross roads with speed limits of 55 mph or less. Sen. Sara Beth Gregory said Wednesday the issue was brought to her attention by trail riders who were cited for crossing roads without helmets.

SB 64 has cleared the Senate Transportation Committee.

Kentucky Office of Highway Safety Director Bill Bell said he opposed SB 64 for safety reasons. He said Kentucky had 12 ATV-related fatalities last year on roadways.

There is no question that ATVs can be dangerous and that helmets make them safer. But how can you enforce a helmet law when many, if not most, ATV riders are on private property miles from the nearest state highway? Simply put, you can’t.

One would hope that many ATV operators and their passengers put safety first, but we know that some don’t. However, we can’t see how enacting an unenforceable law regarding ATVs is going to do much to improve safety.  If all ATV riders are doing is traveling 20 or 40 feet across a highway without a helmet, they are doing little to increase the danger.

A far more dangerous practice is adults who allow small children to operate ATVs that they have neither the strength. maturity or experience to do safely. But that’s already against the law. It’s just difficult to enforce.

1
Text Only
Editorials
  • Positive trend

    For those adults who have a low opinion of American teenagers, Uncle Sam’s latest study of worrisome behavior among teens provides some good news: Teens are smoking less, drinking less and fighting less. Most forms of drug use, weapons use and risky sex also are declining — and have been since 1991, the year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention first started surveying teens about  their behavior.

    July 24, 2014

  • Research's value

    In pushing for a higher education reform bill in the late 1990s, former Gov. Paul Patton set an ambitious goal of having the University of Kentucky become a Top 20 research university by 2020. UK has yet to accomplish that goal, but UK and the University of Louisville both have made great advances in research in recent years.

    July 24, 2014

  • Deadline is near

    People with Kentucky driver’s licenses may soon be required to show a passport or some other accepted form of federal identification to enter “restricted” or “semi-restricted” areas of federal facilities, including federal courthouses, military bases, federal prisons and a wide range of other federal offices.

    July 23, 2014

  • Issue is safety

    The Kentucky High School Athletic Association’s Board of Control has recommended softball  “players at first base, third base and pitcher utilize the permissive requirement in the playing rules and wear face/head protection.”

    July 23, 2014

  • More difficult

    In a state like Kentucky with the number of adults who have not graduated from high school is much higher than the national average, undereducated adults have been encouraged to earn high-school equivalency degrees by studying for, taking and passing the General Educational Development (GED) test.

    May 22, 2014

  • Primary election sends messages

    The voters — or at least the minority who took the time to go to the polls Tuesday — have spoken, with Boyd County voters sending mixed messages in the county-wide races that gathered the most attention.

    May 21, 2014

  • Click it or Ticket

    "Click it or Ticket” is a phrase used so often in recent years most of us hardly give it a thought.

    May 21, 2014

  • Top trooper

    Thumbs up to Trooper First Class Shane Goodall of Flatwoods for being named 2013 Trooper of the Year for Kentucky.

    May 20, 2014

  • 05/18/2014 — This Week in the Tri-State

    Local news

    May 18, 2014

  • 0518greene.jpeg Greene-Lounsberry

    John and Eva Greene of Greenup are proud to announce the engagement of their daughter, Stacey Nicole Greene, to Jonathan Wesley Lounsberry.

    May 18, 2014 1 Photo