Rantings and Ravings
We took the kids camping this Labor Day weekend. We were up somewhere between Scofield and Huntington Canyon.
The weather was nice and there were many, many others doing the same thing we were. The campsite where we were at was very crowded, but enjoyable as well.
The friends we were with were there to fish and mountain bike, and just kick back and savor the outdoors. Four wheeler's were prevalent as people were spread out along about a three mile stretch of road and used them to travel to the reservoirs and back.
I enjoyed the time spent up in the mountains and was able to get out on my bike for the first time in several weeks. It was a nice time for all. As we rode our mountain bikes along the dirt roads, our encounters with the four wheelers were pretty much pleasant experiences.
As the slower vehicles, my friend and I pulled off to the side to let people pass and most ATV drivers slowed down to minimize the dust as they passed.
It was an area I knew would be a shared experience and was prepared for many encounters with the ATV crowd.
So the only thing that bothered me while watching the steady stream pass by our camp was a group of kids ranging in age from about 10-16. The kid who looked to be about 10 was driving a full sized ATV with a rack on the back with a younger looking girl clinging to it. They were accompanied by kids on small undersized motorbikes and another small ATV.
There was no adult anywhere around as this group of kids sped by. One of the kids in the back decided to take a different road than the ones in front and then yelled for them to follow. The kids in front changed directions suddenly, almost sending the large four wheeler onto its side.
We encountered this group a couple more times throughout the day and I never saw an adult with them. They were always going faster than all the other groups up and down the road and looked like a disaster waiting to happen.
Since I didn't hear about any bad ATV accidents over the weekend I have to assume they all survived just fine. I worry though that we sometimes give our kids too much freedom and power in the name of good, clean fun.
None of the kids had helmets and the 10 year old seemed to struggle with control of the ATV he was driving. He may have been driving an ATV since he was old enough to walk, but it doesn't mean he really can handle a full size ATV without an adult present.
ATV riding can be a great family activity, but we need to remember that kids are not miniature adults. They are still learning how to process information and don't begin to truly think ahead until they get into their 20's.
If it is an activity enjoyed by your family, keep it a safe one and ride with your kids. Teach them to be safe and courteous.
Keep them alive.