BRADFORD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Summer is near and families are migrating outside for sunny days and memorable adventures. In rural areas, ATVs are a popular recreational vehicle in the summer. Despite all the safety equipment created for ATVs and their riders, accidents occur, and can be deadly for users. Sadly, two families in 3 days, learned their lesson when their children were in critical condition or worse due to their ATV accidents.
Bradford County Accident
At 7:45pm, two pre-teen boys were riding an ATV together in Brooker, Florida. They were heading north on SW 147th Ave near County Road 18, when the 12-year-old driver fell off the vehicle. The 12-year-old boy sustained a serious head injury and was transported to the UF Health Shands Hospital. Indeed, the children were not wearing helmets. Consequently, the boy was placed in critical condition, but is now in recovery. The 10-year-old child was not hurt in the incident.
Brantley County Accident
3 days prior to the Bradford incident, a 6th grader from Atkinson Elementary School sustained serious injuries from an ATV accident. Unfortunately, the boy succumbed to his injuries and passed away. The cause of the accident was not disclosed, but the boy was described as having an “outgoing personality, infectious smile, and athleticism.”
First of Many
News4Jax spoke with families who said ATV-riding in Bradford and Brantley counties are a way of life. In fact, some even mentioned bringing young children and grandchildren with them. The ATV lifestyle creates dangerous circumstances, even when done in a safe manner. According to Clinical Pediatrics, an average of 31 children and teens find themselves with non-fatal, ATV-related injuries in a single day in the United States. However, in terms of fatalities, Florida is ranked in the top 6 states for ATV-related deaths. As stated in the introduction, summer’s beginning means the average will be at a higher level, and these news stories are just beginning.
Master Sgt. Dylan Bryan, a service member for the Florida Highway Patrol had some thoughts on the recent incidents: “ATVs and side-by-sides and these types of recreational vehicles are very common throughout our region,” he said. “With that being said, again, we want to remind them to operate them in a safe manner and stay off roadways or highways. These are not designed to be operated on roadways or highways.” Had the children been watched and protected with proper equipment, they may not have suffered much if any injures. Instead, two families were greatly affected.
Even another local parent stressed how unsafe the whole situation can be when using ATVs. “Safety is a big issue where parents need to teach their children better,” she said. “It’s scary. It really is because I raised my children around these ATVs and side-by-sides. They’ve gotta be taught.” Whether or not one chooses to ride an ATV, safety should always come first. Fun is only fun when no one gets injured.
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Action News Jax. (2022, May 10). Boy critically hurt in ATV Crash in Bradford County. Action News Jax. Retrieved May 19, 2022, from https://www.actionnewsjax.com/news/local/boy-critically-hurt-atv-crash-bradford-county/QH3S2XAYRVBTRFLXX7BE7NQIRY/
Chandler, T. (2022, May 7). Georgia 6th grader dies from ATV accident injuries. The Georgia Sun. Retrieved May 17, 2022, from https://thegeorgiasun.com/2022/05/07/georgia-6th-grader-dies-from-atv-accident-injuries/
Johnson, S. (2022, May 10). Bradford County 12-year-old critically injured after ATV accident. WJXT. Retrieved May 17, 2022, from https://www.news4jax.com/news/florida/2022/05/10/bradford-county-12-year-old-critically-injured-after-atv-accident/
WJXT News4JAX. (2022, May 7). Brantley County 6th grader dies after ATV Crash. WJXT. Retrieved May 17, 2022, from https://www.news4jax.com/news/georgia/2022/05/07/brantley-county-6th-grader-dies-after-atv-crash/