It seems like every other house in my neighborhood has at least 2 ATVs in the garage. Our street terminates in a dead end and there are no streets leading off the east for a few blocks. This means our street has less traffic than normal. So my neighbors look at this as an open invitation to race their ATVs up and down the street whenever the weather is good. I really have nothing against this but these idiots are going full throttle, rubber burning, front wheels up in the air. Being the father of 3 year old twins I have natural concerns, but I keep my kids inside or behind a fence and keep a somewhat overprotective eye on them. The thing is, these morons are not wearing a scrap of protective gear, no elbow pads, knee pads, goggles, or you guessed it, helmets.
I had decided to take a Darwinian view of the situation and keep in mind that with fewer idiots in the world there are more resources available for the rest of us. But now they are bringing the next generation into their world of stupidity. They happily send their preteen children out riding these ATVs without protection or supervision. And I am not talking about little detuned 50cc jobs either. These are full size machines (250cc and up). And these kids are in turn giving their friends rides, so there are sometimes up to four kids piled on one of these four wheelers tooling up and down the street. An hour ago I saw a Honda loaded with three kids headed down the street and come back thirty minuets later and all the kids were drinking from fresh QT fountain cups with two QT bags laden with various samples of junk food dangling from the handlebars. There are two Quik Trips close enough that they could have got there and back in the allotted time. One would involve getting out on a busy street during rush hour and the other would involve them getting out on an even busier street and crossing a highway.
The police were just out and talked to one of the younger riders and warned him about riding around without a helmet. Kid was bitchin' and moanin' about the cop harassing him when they left. Kid should feel lucky I was not the cop. I would have confiscated the ATV and made the parents and child both sit through a few hours of ER videos before giving it back.
I am not one of these wrap you kids up in bubble-wrap and keep them inside all day parents. I want my kids to be kids, have fun, take a few chances, live their lives. But is it too much to expect parents to take a few moments to make sure you kids aren't taking stupid chances. And if you can afford a brand new ATV you can afford a helmet.
As for the adults riding without helmets (motorcycle or ATV), I say that if you are that stupid, go ahead, just please don't reproduce and don't expect taxpayer money to keep your brain dead ass on life support for the next twenty years after you smash your head open on the pavement. I think we should have special "Idiot Licenses" for those people. They sign that they are aware of the risks involved and waive any and all state and federal aid to pay their medical bills when they end up in the ER. Let them and only them pay the massively huge insurance premiums.
But really, just ride safe, wear a helmet and make sure your kids do too.