The Northwest Florida Daily News reports that a 9-year-old Bonifay boy died after he was ejected from his ATV Sunday afternoon. According to the news agency, the boy was traveling northbound on a 2005 Artic Cat ATV on a road in Bonifay, while a UTV with two 13-year-old girls and a 12-year-old girl were just ahead of him. The girl’s vehicle stopped in the roadway due to a group of dogs running in the road. The nine-year-old turned to avoid the UTV, but still crashed into it. The boy was thrown from the vehicle and into a ditch, where the ATV then ran over him. The boy was transported to Doctor’s Memorial Hospital where he died of injuries. Neither the 13-year-old girl nor her passengers, who were 12 and 13, were injured, the report said. FHP is investigating the accident.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of this 9-year-old who died tragically.
Florida law is very specific on who can use an ATV and have several safety requirements to try to avoid these type of horrific accidents. According to the Florida Statutes, Section 316.2074 All-terrain vehicles are: any motorized off-highway vehicle 50 inches or less in width, having a dry weight of 1,200 pounds or less, designed to travel on three or more nonhighway tires, and manufactured for recreational use by one or more persons. For the purposes of this section, “all-terrain vehicle” also includes a “two-rider ATV” as defined in s. 317.0003.
* No person under 16 years of age shall operate, ride, or be otherwise propelled on an all-terrain vehicle unless the person wears a safety helmet meeting United States Department of Transportation standards and eye protection.
* If a crash results in the death of any person or in the injury of any person which results in treatment of the person by a physician, the operator of each all-terrain vehicle involved in the crash shall give notice of the crash pursuant to s. 316.066…..
The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services provides safety tips for those who choose to ride an ATV:
- Always ride within your abilities.
- Dress to spill- wear appropriate protective gear.
- Travel in a group of two or more riders.
- One rider per machine (unless the machine is designed for two).
- Riders under 16 years old should always be supervised by an adult.
- Do not ride a machine that is too big for you.
- Always provide someone with a ride plan. This should include where and when you are riding, as well as a return time and date.
- Be in shape to take all the punishments a trail will offer. Be prepared to walk out in case of breakdown.
- Prepare for the unexpected- .
- Check the weather forecast before leaving.
- Do not drink alcohol and ride.
- Obey all traffic and information signs.