Deaths reminder of importance of ATV safety
by Shaka S. Lias
Mar 11, 2011 | 4226 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Roger Waters with Bartow Powersports in Cartersville lines up an ATV in the store at Powersports Circle near Interstate 75 off Main Street. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
Roger Waters with Bartow Powersports in Cartersville lines up an ATV in the store at Powersports Circle near Interstate 75 off Main Street. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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Last weekend two deaths occurred as the result of an all terrain vehicle, or ATV, accident.

Cornelia Municipal Court Judge Steven Charles Adams, 61, was killed Friday evening when the ATV he was driving accelerated, ejecting him from the vehicle. On Saturday afternoon, 15-year-old Jared McGatha of Kingston was killed while riding his ATV in the woods.

Jerome Poole, public information officer with the Floyd County Police Department, said the front tire of McGatha's ATV hit a rock and flipped forward.

"He hit his head on a rock and the ATV turned over hitting him on the head," Poole said.

McGatha, a student at Model High School, was pronounced dead later at Floyd Medical Center. He reportedly was not wearing a helmet.

Bartow Powersports averages selling about five to 10 ATVs per month, with their busiest times being fall and winter because of hunting season. Salesman Roger Waters said helmets are one of the first things he offers when he sells an ATV.

"I think a law should be passed to wear helmets," he said, adding the law would be hard to enforce since ATVs are off-road vehicles. "It needs to be mandatory; common sense should tell you to wear a helmet."

Waters said growing up his grandfather wouldn't allow him to ride a dirt bike without a helmet.

There are two types of ATVs, utility and sport. Sport vehicles are for racing and utility is for trail rides, and speeds start at 55 miles per hour and go up to about 70.

All ATVs are for drivers age 16 and up. "We have kid ones. They are all age specific, set by the government," Waters said.

He said it's important to know that ATVs are usually made for one person. "They are not recommended for two people -- that may be another reason people have accidents."

However, larger vehicles are made specifically for two people and generally cost more. In addition, ATVs are available with foot rests, handles for passengers, padded seats, back rest and other amenities.

For more information on ATVs and safety, visit www.atvsafety.gov.