Recreational Vehicle Accidents

When the warm weather kicks in, the kids love to go outside and play. It used to be that all of the neighborhood kids would enjoy riding their bicycles around the neighborhood. Now, kids are enjoying a faster type of thrill – they love to be able to ride their recreational vehicles, such as ATVs, around their neighborhoods, feeling that dead air breeze through their hair on a hot and sunny day. Unfortunately, this play comes with consequences if all safety precautions are not followed.

Car Collides with ATV on West Side of Indianapolis

It was a sad day on the 6th of July when a young boy and a teenager were rushed to the hospital after an ATV accident that happened on the west side of Indianapolis. A press release distributed by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources stated that while 17-year-old Justin Bishop drove the ATV, he allowed his five-year-old cousin, Brayson Matney, to ride on the handlebars of the recreational vehicle. Bishop proceeded to ignore and fly through a stop sign at Bradbury Avenue and Lyons Avenue with the young boy on the handlebars, right into oncoming traffic. Both of the kids were thrown from the ATV when an SUV traveling on the road was unable to avoid a collision with the ATV.

Safety Concerns with Recreational Vehicles

While the act of riding with a young child on the handlebars and blasting through a stop sign onto a road were both safety no-nos, there were other safety issues present, as well. Safety precautions could have easily reduced or/and prevented the seriousness of the injuries. For example, neither of the kids were wearing safety helmets while riding the ATV. Both of the boys are truly lucky to be alive.

Neighbor Fears

In this neighborhood, many of the kids enjoy riding their ATVs around, but this has caused a stir amongst neighbors. A neighbor in the area, Lucynda Russell, mentioned that she has been afraid for a while now that someone would hit a child riding an ATV.  “Any time you come down any of the main streets, you have to stop and wait to see if there are any kids coming out of the alley or if they’re going to turn onto this side street out here,” said Russell. “I’ve come close to nailing them and I know a lot of other neighbors have too.”

Michael Shaffner, another neighbor, who lives right down the street from Russell, near where the accident happened, does not allow his children to ride ATVs. He also does not allow them to ride scooters around the neighborhood. He said that this accident was a good reminder of why he stood firm on his rules with his own kids. “I’m going to set my kids down and talk to them,” said Shaffner. “And then once they see it on the news, maybe they’ll say, ‘Quit buggin Dad. Dad’s right.’”

Indiana Law About ATVs

According to Indiana law, ATV’s are not allowed on public roads, however some counties are making amendments to this state law. For example, Clark County has decided that all-terrain vehicles can be driven on the public roads of the county. County officials explained the reasoning for this change was due to the fact that people were already using their ATVs on public roads in the county, running errands, working in the fields and traveling from field to field, or simply meeting up with friends.

ATVs in the rural areas of Clark County are a way of life, and county officials believed that changing the law would make it safer for everyone on the roads, because it would bring a true awareness of the ATV riders and require motorists to share the road. “Well you know, we’ve got it already,” Sheriff Danny Rodden said. “We’ve got them out there already — kids especially — doing stupid things on county roads, and we are trying to control it. We have lots of concerns. I have lots of safety concerns.” One of the requirements Rodden would like to add is safety helmets, however, the state law does not allow that for adults.

On the Contrary

On the other end of the argument is IMPD’s Sergeant Matt Morgan, who stands firmly behind the Indiana law. “They don’t need to be on the streets,” said Morgan. “They don’t need to be in the alleys. Fields and trails and everything else are where these are for and of course helmets are always preferred.” He told the media that the police station is still investigating whether or not they should bring charges against the boys or the parents of the boys involved in the ATV collision as the crash continues to be investigated.  

How Are the Boys and the SUV Driver?

Emergency medical responders transported both five-year-old Brayson Matney and 17-year-old Justin Bishop to Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health. Last reports that came in to the media stated that the five-year-old was listed in critical condition and also exhibited a broken femur. Not much has been said about the driver of the SUV except that he was not injured and police said that there were not going to be any charges brought against the driver for the accident.

Need Help?

As the people who were close to this accident said, the two boys involved in the accident were lucky to be alive. If the driver of the SUV had been injured or killed, who would have been found at fault? The underaged boys or the parents of the boys, who were probably clueless that they were not riding the ATV safely.

While this is a whole different kind of automobile accident, when incidents like this happen, auto on recreational vehicle, it is nice to have an experienced Indianapolis car accident attorney to lean on. The state laws of Indiana are in place to protect everyone, regardless of how safe or unsafe people choose to act. However, not everyone follows the law, and when that happens, people are put in dangerous situations where there is potential for injury or death.

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