Local family calls for changes after young boy dies in ATV accident
The family of a young boy who died in an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) accident this summer is calling for changes to the laws that govern ATV use.
Tyler Massey was an experienced rider, when he was on his dirt bike, fit for his size. Two months ago, the 9-year-old was away from his mother and step-father for the weekend, when the full-sized ATV he was riding flipped over and killed him.
"He was an outdoor kid, he loved animals, and had a passion for dirt biking and he was really talented at that. He was really a special little guy," Linda Russell says. "I'm just really hoping that no other parent has to suffer like I have suffered. There was no reason for Tyler’s death, it was completely preventable."
Massey’s mom, along with family and friends are now petitioning to have changes made to the Off-Road Vehicle Act. They want to prohibit any child under the age of 14 from driving a full-size ATV.
The current rule allows children under the age of 12 to use all-terrain vehicles, as long as they have adult supervision. However, there are no regulations relating to age and the size of the machine.
"You need to be watching for your children’s safety, you need to regulate what they're riding, you need to make sure that where they're operating and when they're operating and how they're operating is being done so in a safe and effective manor," says OPP Sgt. Steven Mihills.
Russell is sharing her son's story on the website, TylerMassey.ca. A petition has been launched asking Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation to enforce a mandatory safety certificate for kids age 14 to 16, similar to snowmobiling and boating.
"I think she's doing a great job by lobbying to get those laws changes, and I think the MTO is listening to this sort of thing, and I’m really hoping they do listen and make those changes appropriately."
If nothing else, Russell says she just wants parents to be more aware.
"Laws are only effective if people abide by them and are aware of them, for me it's about common sense and parents making the right decision for their children."
The family hopes to present this petition in the legislative assembly this fall with 10,000 signatures. In the first few weeks, it already has more than 2,500.