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Off-Road Vehicles

November 27, 1986

It was with mounting irritation that I read yet another article on the "dangers" of off-road, all-terrain vehicle use ("Putting the Brakes on Off-Road Cycle Use" by Allan Parachini, Nov. 11).

One line of the article reads, "The crux is whether such vehicles can be safely operated or designed" (emphasis in article). Of course, that statement was never expanded on because, of course, they can be safely operated and designed. They are.

The only points made referring to the danger of ATVs is that you should wear a helmet, you should not carry a passenger, you should not get drunk and ride and you shouldn't put your feet down to get run over by the rear wheels. Somehow those don't seem like engineering problems to me. And it doesn't take a genius to figure any of that out all by yourself.

Incidentally, all those safety facts are on an ATV when you purchase one. And it takes about two minutes to learn those basic safety rules. Stability is not a problem. It takes skill and body English to ride an ATV. And, guess what? Some people enjoy sports because of the skill and the challenge.

I really have to wonder where all this anti-ATV panic is coming from. I can't think of one physical sport where there isn't a chance of getting hurt. But I've never heard it mentioned that skiing or boating or football should be banned.

Why do these self-righteous "authorities" feel it is just fine to ban this particular sport? Because they personally don't like it? I note that your writer doesn't even question the incredible gall of these people playing Big Brother.

I am an intelligent and competent person, and I really don't need more interference in my life from people who want to make all my decisions for me. I love sports, and I don't just want to enjoy them sitting in front of my television--after all, I might trip over the coffee table and get hurt.



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