Many children who are not of age to get their license are still allowed to operate smaller motor vehicles like ATVs and go-karts. It can be hard for parents to decide when it is the right time for their child to be able to drive an ATV on their own. Many times, parents or guardians might think that the only requirement the child must meet is a physical requirement of being able to physically reach everything on the ATV that they need to operate the ATV. But that’s the not the case. You should make sure that your child not only is ready to operate the vehicle physically, but also mentally.
ATVs, while smaller than cars, are still quite large and can go quite fast. That is why you need to make sure that your child can mentally be able to handle the responsibility and decision-making that comes along with driving a potentially dangerous vehicle. But ATVs aren’t all dangerous. They can be very fun and beneficial to some youth if they are used properly. They can help with chores and provide good bonding time for families, while getting kids away from the screens and outdoors. That is why it is important for parents to properly recognize the proper time for youth to begin using ATVs.
When checking a child with an ATV, there are some physical signs you should look for. Can the child fully reach the handles and turn them in both directions? Can the child maintain balance by shifting their weight? If they have good control over a bicycle this is also a good measure to determine their readiness to drive an ATV.
If you are looking for a certain type of ATV to buy for your child, there are options out there for you. They do make smaller ATVs that are more suitable for a youth or smaller person. They even make ATVs with remote supervisory controls that allow a parent to limit the throttle and enable them to have control over the speeds their children are going, and even shut off the ATV remotely. This is good for emergencies, but also might come in handy when you’re trying to get your kid to come inside for dinner and quit riding their ATV. These options make it easier for weary parents to control and limit usage of the ATV.
If you ask many professionals, they will say that children under the age of 16 should not be allowed to ride an ATV. This obviously is going to vary. Some children are probably ready to be allowed to drive an ATV at 10, while others won’t even be ready until they are 18. It really depends, and should be evaluated by not just a parent, who might be biased, but also by another responsible adult who knows the child and can speak on their behalf and evaluate their ability to operate a motor vehicle.
Check with your local ATV dealership to see if there are safety courses available that you child can take before allowing them to operate an ATV.
Written by Carey Wooldrige, owner of Yacht Club Powersports. Based out of the Lake of the Ozarks, Yacht Club Powersports is one of the leading Can Am dealers Missouri has to offer! They also carry a great selection of SeaDoo jetskis!