Indiana Mom Wants Mandatory Helmet Law After Daughter’s ATV Death

June 15, 2016

The mother of an Indiana girl who died in an all-terrain vehicle crash has started a nonprofit foundation in partnership with state lawmakers to draft a helmet law and mandatory safety education for children who ride ATVs.

Ashlee Bruggenschmidt’s 11-year-old daughter Kate wasn’t wearing a helmet when the ATV that she was riding overturned and fell on top of her, The Indianapolis Star reports. Bruggenschmidt created “Play For Kate” in her daughter’s honor.

Capt. Bill Browne said a large portion of ATV accidents are due to improper safety precautions.

“We find machines tend to be over-sized for operators, and it’s especially dangerous whenever those over-sized vehicles are on the roadway,” Browne said.

Rep. Ron Bacon has begun drafting the bill that would require children under age 16 or 18 to wear helmets. According to Bacon, riders and their families need to be educated about the potential consequences of riding an ATV similar to the way people. He also said that he doesn’t see why people shouldn’t need to prove they know the correct safety procedures for riding an ATV just like they have to for riding a motorcycle.

Opponents to such legislation argue that safety gear inhibit motion.

Patty Reyling, a safety advocate who lost her son in an ATV accident, said that “My own son will argue that (a helmet) cuts out your peripheral vision.”

Reyling said that the design of helmets may need to be changed. She does raise awareness through her ATV safety website, Know Your Limits, Learn to Ride to Live.

Safety precautions would cut down on a lot of accidents,” Reyling said. “I don’t care if it’s annoying. If it saves one life, that’s all that matters. There are no helmet laws right now, and people need to be more aware.”

Last year Indiana had 16 fatalities linked to riding ATVs and nearly 250 accidents, according to the Department of Natural Resources’ law enforcement division. As of June 9 of this year there have been six fatal accidents statewide and 77 accidents, state officials said.

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