My editorial in the current issue of All-Terrain Vehicle Magazine pretty much communicates the single biggest problem we have in this industry – idiots using ATVs.
Sorry for the strong words again, however Im done with treating stupid people with respect. The issues facing the State of Minnesota – essentially skyrocketing injuries and fatalities – relate to irresponsible and reckless use of ATVs by people with little or no training whatsoever.
Okay, I get the “untrained user” problem and there are lots of ways to fix that. For example, taking a mandatory (determined by age) operator course for $15.00 in the state. This totals to common sense and it will make a difference.
Even though this is a superb idea, it alone won’t solve the problem. How do we know this? Look just about anywhere across the North American landscape and you’ll see similar trends. We might be in an economic recession of Olympic proportions but I’m telling you, ATV use is high everywhere and it keeps growing.
Make no mistake about the reality that, stupidity aside, as ATV use increases so will accidents. There’s a better way to get morons to behave responsibly or to get them off ATVs altogether and that’s by enforcement.
I am not for more government intervention or more intrusion into our lives, however if we continue to turn a blind eye to morons riding without helmets or operating impaired, or riding two-up on one up ATVs or allowing kids to ride unsupervised or on adult sized ATVs, we are going to have the government intruding into our sport very soon in ways we’re all going to resent. It has to stop NOW.
There’s no mixing words on this topic so let me say this, if you don’t want the nanny state to come to our rescue, close riding areas, put roll bars and airbags on every ATV and govern speeds to 10 MPH then lets get behind having more police and more DNR presence on our trails. Lets refuse to ride with people who are irresponsible and lets report stupid behavior every time we see it.
There’s simply no way to handle this situation differently and it’s gone way too far. Operator training and increased enforcement are what we need more of and we need it right away.