Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Three MonkeysAs a parent, I know that children will do things that they are not supposed to, even after you caution them not to and explain what the consequences might be for disobeying. It takes effort and a sense of responsibility to follow up and make sure that the rules are followed. However, after watching some young motorcyclists in Ladysmith the other day I began to wonder how often out of sight, out of mind was the way some parents operate.

We are very fortunate that we can buy for, or even that our children can afford to own a motorcycle or ATV. Even more fortunate are those children whose parents care enough to participate in the use of these machines and insure that they are used properly and lawfully. If your property is not large enough, then the machines and their riders need to be legally transported to a place that is.

Given the number of times that I have seen incidents like this on over the years, it is clear that some parents simply turn their children loose to ride as they choose and don't consider the consequences. We may think about them getting hurt, or perhaps being fined for improper use, but the possibilities don't end there. If these riders were to cause a collision on the highway they are not insured and the victims or the courts may expect the parents to pay.

The next time your child sets out on their motorcycle or other ATV you need to know where they are going and how they are going to get there. It doesn't take much thought to know if they can accomplish the trip without riding on or across a highway. If they cannot manage this, it is up to you to make sure that you get them to an appropriate setting to use the machine safely.



ATV & dirt bike operation

At our cabin in the BC interior much of the use of these kinds of motor vehicles is so obviously in violation of the new Off-Road Vehicle Act that we can hardly wait for the registration process to get going. Apparently the goal of the province is to get licence plates & stickers affixed to all such machines beginning Fall 2014. It can't come soon enough as far as we are concerned. Hopefully the ability to identify these motorized conveyances will lead to compliance with such concepts as minimum operator age of 16 yr, helmet use, speed control, valid insurance certificates & legal, non-impaired operation on suitable roads & terrain.  Perhaps we will finally see some needed law enforcement in action accordingly.  The public gravel higways, forestry roads & trails including the Trans-Canada Trail in our area are overrun with folks who don't seem to be aware of how dangerous these machines can be and have no idea about courtesy & consideration for other users of those same roads & trails.

Out of Sight Out of Mind

A good example of parent neglect is my neighbour. Two years ago their underage, unlicenced son on a dirt bike didn't show up when he was suppose to, they sent out people to look for him and found him on a back trail injured. He had hit a rock on the trail and went over the handle bars and his injuries were bad enough he ended up in the childrens hospital in Vancouver for six weeks. HIs riding was done for that year, come winter there he was riding a snowmobile with no helmet and of course again riding illegally, their snowmobile is not registered. Yes he is back with his friends on dirt bikes doing the same foolish things, riding and racing on private and public roads and yes the shoulder of the highway. These bikes also have real noisy exhaust systems that make it even more annoying when they ride through your neighbourhood. You see we live in Rossland, B.C. and have no RCMP stationed up here and when you call them the excuse is that by the time they get up here those kids on the motorcycles are long gone where we can't chase them down. I have seen many times young unlicenced riders on dirt bikes on the streets here in town.

The RCMP have talked to my neighbours about their kid, but it is like water off a ducks back, nothing is done, and yes they are out daily with noise and a heavy throttle.



I wonder if cavemen wiped their feet when entering the cave... if yes, was it a rule or just good tone?

Rural, low density, remote and "free" places have enough space to accommodate this behavior. The law has enough grounds to compensate the victims if anything goes wrong. Should we really be concerning our personal-selves with what others are doing only due to a potential detriment of their health? As a matter of policy - sure it's nice to have everyone walking the sharp edge of the proverbial blade; but from the sociology-health perspective - not so much.

Much more concern is merited towards the kids who grow up in the cities and miss a large chunk of their "humanity training" since their outside experience is limited to the 30km/h parks and School zones. Baby proof outlets, plastic bags with holes punched, diapers until they are 10. When these individuals grow up, they are mindless drones with no perspective of the real ways of human lives. I would rather pick the naturally culled and weathered back-country kids to lead the humanity over the pale, tired, neutered city-folk.

Growing up I've spent more time outside than inside. I've learned to ride a bicycle and to swim alone by the age of 5. By the age of 11 I was running around with my pals anywhere our legs or bike-wheels could take us (and back before dinner). We built rafts, we built swing-ropes and zip lines. We'd play "Tarzan" and jump from tree to tree. We'd climb trees as high as 9 stories tall and jump cliffs as tall as 3. Heck we'd even ride the motorized scooter our friend found in his grandpa's barn and fixed it; no helmets - there wern't any available.

While all these laws, regulations, policy, by-laws do matter and guarantee a fair and thoughtful society, I am afraid that we maybe making ourselves blind to the forest for the few bad trees planted firmly in our views.

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