State Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire) introduced House Bill 504, legislation addressing safety measures for ATV users 16 years of age or younger, earlier this year.  On Tuesday, he had the opportunity to present sponsor testimony in the House Transportation, Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee. At that time, Rep. Cera stood before committee members and stated that Ohio needs to do more to protect young riders from serious injury or death.  

HB 504 would require children under 16 years of age to successfully complete a certified safety education and training program prior to operating an ATV on public land. Rep. Cera noted that numerous conversations with concerned parents, local and state officials and law enforcement officials regarding All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) being used on public roads convinced him that something needed to be done to help protect young ATV riders. 

Rep. Cera told committee members that ATV accidents are widespread and have continued to increase over the years. “Across Ohio, we have experienced an increase of ATV accidents where individuals and their passengers are severely hurt or killed,” said Rep. Cera. “Many of these individuals are children. ATVs have a high center of gravity and low pressure tires which can cause a driver to lose control. In some cases, it means that an ATV can tip over more easily, especially on pavement.”

Rep. Cera acknowledged that manufacturers and many outdoor organizations do their best to inform ATV users of safe operating procedures. “ATVs come with an operation manual outlining safe operating procedures for children and adults. Unfortunately, many safety messages, including warning labels that the ATV should not be operated on the road, are not reaching all riders. Sadly, accidents continue to happen,” said Rep. Cera.

Rep. Cera noted that there are laws governing ATV usage already on the books, however, there are not enough law enforcement officials on hand to enforce them. 

“House Bill 504 can be the vehicle that starts the necessary dialogue on safety measures. This legislation may help save lives,” concluded Rep. Cera.

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