Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Reminder for OHV riders: Helmets are required for kids under 18 when operating or riding on an OHV

DOT-approved full-face helmets are recommended ...

New helmet safety poster will be distributed to 250 OHV dealers statewide. (Click on image to enlarge)

Hi all,

One of the educational initiatives for the Idaho Off-Highway Vehicle Outreach Campaign this year is to remind parents and OHV dealers that Idaho state law requires kids under the age of 18 to wear a helmet when riding or operating an OHV. The law has been on the books for six years; compliance appears to be low.

"Wearing a helmet when you're riding an OHV is not only common sense and a good idea, it's the law for kids under the age of 18," says Troy Elmore, OHV Program Manager for the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation.

According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, wearing a helmet when operating or riding on an OHV can reduce the risk of death in an accident by 42 percent.

Statewide, since 2001, there have been about 20 accidents involving kids on OHVs each year on Idaho's public roads, according to records from the Idaho Department of Transportation. In 2003 and 2004, there were 34 accidents in each of those years.

As part of an effort to increase public awareness of the helmet requirements for Idaho kids, the Idaho OHV Public Outreach Campaign and IDPR are handing out posters that include the message: "Use Your Brain - Always Wear a Helmet." The posters will be distributed to 250 OHV dealers in Idaho in early June.

Even though Idaho state law was changed six years ago to include the helmet requirements in hopes of saving lives and reducing injuries, public lands officials in the state have noticed that the law receives low compliance. They are hoping that with some increased publicity and outreach, compliance will improve.

"We want everyone to have a safe riding season in 2011," Elmore said. "You can't ever anticipate when an accident is going to occur, so the safest approach is to wear a helmet."

IDPR officials recommend that OHV riders wear DOT-approved full-face helmets for the best effectiveness, and to be sure that helmets fit properly.

"Helmets are normally comprised of four elements -- a rigid outer shell, a crushable liner, chin straps or a retaining system and fit or comfort padding," notes Richard Gummersall, OHV education coordinator. "The rigid outer shell, when present, adds a load-spreading capability, and prevents objects from penetrating the helmet. It's kind of like an additional skull.

"The liner, usually made of EPS (expanded polystyrene) or similar types of materials, absorbs the energy of an impact by crushing. The chin strap when properly buckled and adjusted along with the fit padding helps the helmet remain in position during a crash."

Here is the full text from Idaho Code 49-666: Motorcycle, motorbike, UTV and ATV safety helmets -- Requirements and standards. No person under eighteen (18) years of age shall ride upon or be permitted to operate a motorcycle, motorbike, utility type vehicle or an all-terrain vehicle unless at all times when so operating or riding upon the vehicle he is wearing, as part of his motorcycle, motorbike, UTV or ATV equipment, a protective safety helmet of a type and quality equal to or better than the standards established for helmets by the director, except the provisions of this section shall not apply when such vehicles are operated or ridden on private property, or when used as an implement of husbandry.

Please spread the word!

Thanks and have a safe ride.

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