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Stop miss-information (Read 425 times)
ATV Lover

Stop miss-information
03/06/03 at 09:34:15
As I saw posted by another visitor here, and I agree fully....
I post these anti-ATV activist reports to keep others informed of anti-ATV activists activities. Information is power.  
I DO NOT support anti-ATV activists .  Their tactics and position run counter to my own beliefs.  
Ignore them at your peril, these organizations HATE ATV's and off roading of ANY kind.  They are organized, powerful, and have lots of money.  
Anti-ATV activists are a threat to ATVing in Utah.

Now for the real story
There is nothing like a dead child to motivate people and to rally the paranoid, the pious and the pushy. The latest alert comes by way of a consortium of environmental and consumer groups that last fall issued a report called All Terrain Vehicle Safety Crisis

Americas Children at Risk. At first glance, all terrain vehicles may seem harmless enough, given their big tires, apparently wide stance, four wheel drive and cushy seat, the report begins. Appearances are deceiving. These vehicles are built and marketed for speed, with many ATVs capable of traveling up to 75 miles per hour. They injure, maim or kill more than 110,000 Americans every year, and the real tragedy is that children younger than 16 years old pay the heaviest price. For nearly a decade, the toll on children has been climbing dramatically, while the off-road-vehicle industry has aggressively marketed bigger, faster and more dangerous ATVs.

The report, which calls on states to prohibit anyone under the age of 16 from driving an ATV, is a classic example of the activist phenomenon known as reefer madness: Exaggerate, then regulate. To make their case, the groups shade statistics or, in this case, soak them in blood. Take the statement that ATVs injure, maim or kill more than 110,000 Americans each year. The figure, based on hospital reports, lumps together lethal and no lethal, finger cuts and funerals, so the number will have more impact. The report notes that between 1993 and 2001, the number of injuries caused by ATV related accidents more than doubled, to 111,700 per year, resulting in a $6.5 billion tab for medical, legal and loss-of-work costs. Of those injured, 34,800 were under the age of 16. What those numbers dont tell you is that in the same period, the number of ATVs approximately tripled. So actually, the injury rate has gone down. Furthermore, the accident rate the just-say-no crowd strikes again Among kids is almost identical to that of riders between the ages of 16 and 34. But a report trumpeting ATVs as safer than ever wouldnt have produced headlines.

The report includes more shocking numbers: Between the years 1982 and 2001, at least 4541 people died in ATV accidents. Bar graphs show a leap in deaths, from 211 in 1993 to 547 in 2000 (the most recent figures available). As with previous numbers, the totals are based on hospital reports. But a footnote explains that, in 1999, emergency rooms changed the way they tally injuries, which accounts for the jump.

About 40 percent of the ATV fatalities involved riders 16 or younger. The report touches on some possible causes: Ninety five percent of the youngest victims were riding adult size ATVs, 96 percent had no training and few were wearing helmets. To give the figures perspective, consider that bicycle accidents send more than 500,000 people to emergency rooms each year. Sixty percent of them are kids. Bike crashes kill.

About 900 people a year; 200 of the fatalities are children. Bikes and ATVs produce similar body counts among children. But instead of banning bicycling, states passed helmet laws, which significantly reduced fatalities. The groups that issued the report see such statistics as justification for a ban. But there is an obvious lesson here about taking risks: Teach your children well. Give them ATVs suitable for their age, size and coordination. Instruct them or enroll them in rider education classes. Make them wear protective equipment. All of these ideas are pushed by the ATV industry. Machines have prominent warning labels and age recommendations (12 and under should ride vehicles with 70 cubic centimeter engines; those under 16 should ride 90cc mounts). The ATV Safety Institute conducts classes around the country.

(Full disclosure: This writer prefers motorcycles to cars and has allowed his two kids to ride as passengers on cycles and snowmobiles. His sons remark, Go louder, Dad, suggests that a taste for internal combustion engines is genetic. Both kids have ridden ATVs. They first touched a throttle at a class in Montana two days of learning basic skills in a corral, before embarking on a ride into the alpine meadows above the Gallatin Riveras part of a safety training video being made for an industry group. They looked great.) Seventy percent of the 15 million Americans who ride ATVs do so as a family activity. Set age limits and you slam the brakes on all terrain sales. That seems to be the idea: Motorcycle journalist Brian Neale suggests that at least two of the groups behind the reportthe Bluewater Network and the Natural Trails and Waters Coalitionhave an agenda besides ATV safety. Both want to limit access to public lands by motorized vehicles. That is a good idea in some areas. But whether youre a religious zealot or an environmental one, Save the children
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