NAMPA -- It has been a deadly week for young people on ATVs.
As the Memorial Day weekend starts, many more youngsters are probably going to be hopping on ATVs, but how young is too young? Or, is there such a thing?
Brian Patterson runs Intermountain Power Sport Rentals in Nampa. This time of year is when the business starts getting awful busy.
But, as he gets busier renting equipment to folks for fun in the outdoors, he knows that fun can turn to danger, if they're not prepared.
This machine (a jet-ski) can do about 65 miles an hour, and if you put someone who doesn't know how to operate it out there, they can become a danger to both themselves and those around them, said Patterson.
He says if you're heading out on the water, wear your life jacket, know your equipment, and watch your speed.
If you're heading out on an ATV, wear a helmet, know the area you're riding in, and again, watch your speed, and know your equipment.
Patterson rents to a lot of families, and knows parents will allow some kids and teens to operate ATVs and jet-skis.
We won't allow anyone to rent them unless they're at least 21. When it comes to the water, it's up to the discretion of the person who actually rents them. However, it's suggested they're at least 16, said Patterson.
He says law requires anyone under 18 to wear a DOT-approved helmet. Beyond that, he says, parents need to make sure their kids can be safe in the outdoors, Accidents happen at any time to any experience level. But, especially with those younger riders, they have a higher potential of incidents happening... They should be out having a good time, not taking a trip to the emergency room.
Patterson says another issue he sees is some people wearing bicycle helmets for ATVing or motorcycling. Those helmets are not strong enough to keep you safe in a higher-speed crash.
Also, according to AAA, it is also the beginning of the 100 deadliest days on the roads for teen drivers, that's despite the great driving conditions. At this time, the distractions also increase.