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Wisconsin ATV laws for minors explained

Posted: 6:23 PM, Jul 23, 2016
Updated: 2016-07-23 23:23:26Z

A nine-year-old boy was hurt in an ATV crash in Waupaca County on Friday morning just before noon on Drath Road in Ogdensburg. The boy wasn't wearing a helmet and fell of the back of the ATV driven by a 12-year-old boy on private property. The nine-year-old was flown to a nearby hospital by helicopter where his condition tonight remains unknown. While there are many questions remaining as to what happened, tonight we talk with ATV experts about what state law asks every adult to do to make the ATV ride legal.

 

We don't know the circumstances that lead to that 9-year-old boy falling off of an ATV. But today NBC26 talked to the president of the largest ATV club in the Midwest out of Oconto County to unpack what parents should know before allowing their kids to take out a four wheeler.

 

In recent years four wheelers have grown more popular than snowmobiles. More and more people from Wisconsin are opting for an ATV.

 

"It's a sport that all ages can participate in as a group or as individuals," says Dan Hoppe the President of the Dusty Trail ATV Club.

 

Hoppe has been riding for over 30 years and has seen the laws for riding change drastically in that time.

 

But in that time he's also questioned some ATV laws. For one, everyone under 18 must wear a helmet outside of private property except, in two situations.

 

"If you're under 18 its state law but there’s two exceptions. I don't understand where they come from. And that is if you're in the act of farming or if you're in the act of hunting (you aren’t required to wear one)," says Hoppe.

 

Another law for ATV operators states that everyone born after 1988 must have earned an ATV safety certificate to ride. But once again, this law doesn't apply on private property.

 

But one rule that stretches from state land to private property is this; everyone under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult when riding.

 

"The kid has to get that key from somebody and is he truly ready to be riding on his own? Mom and Dad have to take that responsibility and make sure he is ready whether he's had a DNR safety course or not," adds Hoppe.

 

And while the sport of ATV’ing is clearly enjoyable for all age groups, most agree that the sport must be respected.

 

If you are under 18 and caught driving an ATV outside of private property without a helmet on, it could cost you 150 bucks to pay off your ticket.