Over the weekend several teens and early-twenty-somethings were ripping through the neighborhood on a dilapidated three-wheeled ATV that looked like it should have breathed its last 20 years ago, and I sat there evaluating the many laws being broken and wondering how or if such stupidity skews motorcycle accident statistics.

The vehicle is not street-legal and never should have been on public streets at all yet they ran it around the neighborhood for an entire Saturday afternoon. The fellow who seemed to be the owner was carrying passengers yet going way too fast, making the turn at intersections on two wheels. Forget stopping at stop signs – they went right through the intersections making wide turns out into the streets without slowing up or looking for oncoming traffic. They paid no heed at all to any traffic laws. Of the 10 or so people who rode the ATV, only one wore a helmet, and the girls who were being ridden around were clad in shorts, tank-tops, and flip-flops. No helmets, no boots or shoes, or any other protective clothing. The girls sat in front of the rider, legs sprawled out to the sides because there were no foot rests for a passenger. There were no turn signals, no brake lights, no headlamp for safety, basically “no nothing”. Every law that could be broken was.

You just can’t fix stupid. Apparently you can’t expect enforcement of traffic laws either. In a perfect world they’d have been ticketed and gotten off the road before they caused an accident with an unsuspecting motorist.

As I watched the escapades I kept wondering if I’d have time to avoid a collision if they darted out in front of my automobile the way they were recklessly riding out into the path of oncoming traffic, and the answer is, I seriously doubt it. By the time a driver’s brain registered what was happening in such an unexpected situation, it is highly unlikely there would be time to react and avoid a crash. Would a driver unfortunate enough to hit them be found at fault?

Cost Data for such stupidity:
Cost is calculated by estimating medical expenditure, work lost, and loss of quality of life.
•The average annual cost of nonfatal ATV-related injuries treated in an ED for youth under 17 years is over $1.4 billion.
•Hospital admitted ATV-related injuries to youth under 17 years cost more than $5.2 million annually.
•Nearly 80 percent of the average annual cost of nonfatal ATV-related injuries are associated with males.
•No helmet use
•Poor judgment and risk-taking behaviors
•Operating an ATV larger than that recommended for their size and age
•Operating on public roads, streets, and highways
•Riding with a passenger