New Indiana law requires minors to wear helmets while on ATVs

New Indiana law requires minors to wear helmets while on ATVs

CORYDON, IN (WAVE) - For many kids, summers are spent on ATVs. It's no secret the sport can be dangerous, and at times, deadly.

That's why on July 1, a new Indiana law will kick in, requiring all minors to wear a helmet when riding.

The law applies to children riding all vehicles designed for off-road travel including ATVs, side-by-sides, dirt bikes and go-carts.

At Cave Country Powersports in Corydon, Manager Bryan Thomas said off-road riding is something you grow up doing if you are from Harrison County.

"Everybody rides," Thomas said. "People from 3 to 80."

No matter your level of experience, at times ATVs can be dangerous.

"The smallest one we sell is still around 20 mph," Thomas said. "Your larger ATVs -- upwards of 60, 70, 80 mph on some of your sport ones."

That's why he supports a new Hoosier law which requires all children under the age of 18 to wear a helmet.

"I would think that most people would get behind the law," Thomas said. "They are trying to protect the kids. Anybody that is against the law, how can you be against that?"

In the past five years in Indiana, 29 children have died during an off-road accident. State conservation officers have responded to more than 400 injury crashes involving minors during that same time. It's those numbers that led to legislative action.

"Because every time a statistic goes up one more number, that's not a number, that's someone," Indiana DNR Captain William Browne said. "That is a human life that we are dealing with."

Under the new law, the owner of the ATV can be held responsible, if consent is given to a child to ride. Indiana DNR will be the enforcers, but Browne said its main goal is to teach.

"Even in the stop, we are going to use that as an opportunity to educate whether that be through written warning, verbal warning or citation," Browne said.

Thomas said he hopes all his customers, of all ages, grab helmets before they go.

"It's really important no matter what," Thomas said. "It doesn't take much of an impact to your head to cause serious damage."

Indiana conservation officers will start enforcement July 1. Right now there is not a similar helmet law in Kentucky.

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