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Accidents Increase With Their Popularity

Aug 9, 2005 | The popularity of All Terrain Vehicles continues to grow throughout the nation and here in the Midland Empire. The number of injuries grows as well. There have been three ATV related deaths in the area so far this year.

Cash incentives from safety courses encourage local riders to become more safety savvy. Robert Van Voorst has come all the way from Lone Jack, Missouri to participate in this ATV safety course. "I bought a faster, bike and I wanted to learn how to ride it" says Van Voorst.

It didn`t hurt that he and the other riders got 100 dollars cash to take the course. John Ruff teaches ATV safety all over northern Missouri.
He says the most common mistake he sees is not using a helmet.

Trauma Nurse Supervisor Wally Patrick says increased popularity of the ATV`s comes with a price. Heartland has seen a 25 percent increase this year in the number of atv related accidents. Three of those were deaths.

"I`ve seen death, paralysis, head injuries, and facial fractures requiring reconstructive surgery" says Patrick.
He is especially concerned with the number of children riding ATV`s.

Patrick says they`re becoming as common as bicycles, especially in the rural areas.

Just this weekend a four-year Colorado boy disappeared while riding his ATV out in the woods. Search crews found the body of Sam Cockroft Sunday evening in the south Platt River.

They found part of a fender but never recovered the ATV. Patrick would like to see more stringent laws in place for young ATV riders.

"You wouldn`t put a child in a car and let them drive off or you wouldn`t put them on a full-size motorcycle" says Patrick. In the state of Missouri, riders under the age of eighteen are required to wear a helmet. There is no minimum age requirement to ride an ATV. Children younger than 16 must be supervised in a public area.

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