Mat-Su ATV crashes involving kids, riders without helmets increase

Mat-Su first responders are seeing an increased number of crashes involving children and riders...
Mat-Su first responders are seeing an increased number of crashes involving children and riders without helmets.(Heather Hintze)
Published: Sep. 21, 2020 at 3:06 PM AKDT
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SUTTON, Alaska (KTUU) -Emergency responders in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough have seen an increased number of ATV crashes this year.

Brian Davis, the deputy director of Fire and Rescue, said by the end of August, the borough had already hit its three-year average for crashes.

Many of those incidents involve children and riders not wearing helmets.

“The problem is a lot of people don’t wear helmets because they’re lulled into a false sense of security because they know the area, they’re not going fast and no one anticipates having an accident,” Davis said.

Crews have seen such an increase in the number of injured children that they’ve added more pediatric training for staff.

David said he knows families want to get out and recreate together but parents should always have their children in sight.

“It’s important that they are trained to operate the machine and it’s sized correctly for them. Most manufacturers don’t recommend anyone under 16 operating an all-terrain vehicle,” Davis explained.

According to Alaska State Troopers, there’s no state law requiring helmets while off-roading, even for children.

Troopers still urge parents to take precautions because showing up to a scene with an injured child is hard on everyone.

“It’s really hard to describe. It’s those type of calls we dread. It’s something we hope we never have to go to but unfortunately, we know that’s going to happen,” said Sgt. Ronald Hayes.

David advises people recreating or hunting in off-road areas to take a satellite phone or GPS device with them. If there’s a crash, people can send exact coordinates to rescuers so they’re able to find them faster.

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