Efforts Made to Draft Helmet Laws in Indiana

Indiana state lawmakers have partnered with a mother whose daughter died in an all-terrain vehicle crash while not wearing a helmet. It’s her goal to have a helmet law along with mandatory safety education drafted before children can be allowed to ride ATVs.

Capt. Bill Browne supports Play for Kate, and he acknowledges that the lack of proper safety precautions accounts for a large number of accidents involving ATVs. The efforts are making headway, and Rep. Ron Bacon has already begun the process of drafting a bill that would establish rules to make the enjoyment of ATVs safer for kids.

According to the preliminary draft, children under the age of 16 or 18 would be required to wear protective headgear. Browne argues that, just as those preparing for the operation of a motorcycle, anyone seeking to use a large ATV needs to display that they understand the potential dangers involved as well as the proper safety precautions to employ to minimize dangers. He has included the requirement for education for riders and families as part of his draft.

Opponents to the movement argue that helmets limit peripheral vision, and this in itself is a more eminent danger. Patty Reyling also lost her son in an ATV accident, and she blames helmets. She said, “My own son will argue that (a helmet) cuts out your peripheral vision.”

Reyling is also an activist, and she operates a website, Know Your Limits, Learn to Ride to Live. While she argues this potential new legislation, she does believe there could be a middle ground that should be reviewed. She believes there needs to be a change in the design of helmets for ATV drivers and riders.

State officials report that 16 fatalities were directly related to ATV accidents last year, and there have already been six statewide as of June 9, 2016.