The law in this province goes partway to meeting that objective but there is a stipulation that a child between the ages of 14 and 16 is permitted to operate a machine that has a less powerful engine.
Eliminating that younger age group should be given serious consideration when the legislature gets back in session.
There is little reason for any parent to allow anyone under the age of 16 to operate a motorized vehicle of any sort.
These machines are designed to tackle travel over difficult terrain and that invariably leads to injury if the operator lacks experience, strength and judgment.
We hear too much of serious injuries incurred by operators who are much older and stronger than a 14-year-old.
True, many of these mishaps are the result of riding too fast or riding drunk, but regardless, these machine — small engines or not — can cause serious injuries if not respected.
Just ask any emergency room doctor who has had to deal with one of these accidents.
The Pediatric Society members are not in the business of ruining anyone’s fun and recreation, but they are the professionals who are charged with setting broken bones and sewing up gashes in young people who have gotten in over the heads and had an ATV roll on them.
Even worse, they are also the people who have to stand face to face with family members to explain why a child didn’t survive a rollover or will be in a wheelchair for the rest of his or her life.
There is no valid reason children can’t wait until they reach the age of 16 before they are handed the keys to drive an ATV.
There are plenty of other safer pastimes to keep them entertained.