In May 28 IssueBy John ThompsonNews-Register Reporter
The Russell County Motorcycle Safety and Helmet Fund is running short on cash and could sure use your help in their effort to make sure every child in the county who rides a motorcycle or ATV has a helmet to wear.
The Helmet Fund was set up by parents of an adult child who was killed in a motorcycle accident in partnership with Rex's Cycle Shop in Columbia.
They offer free helmets when parents come to the shop with their child to be fitted for the helmet, fill out a form for the helmet and the child or parent signing a pledge that the under age 18 child will wear the helmet any time they are on the vehicle. A parent of the child will need to appear with the child to show I.D. and fill out an application for the free helmet. You will then be given a coupon that is good for a free helmet valued at $40 at Rex's Cycle Shop located at 1349 Campbellsville Rd, Columbia, KY. There your child will be fitted for a proper helmet and will sign a pledge to always wear the helmet when riding a motorcycle or ATV.
Locally those who are interested in donating to the fund or finding out more about getting a helmet for your child can go by the local BB&T on Lakeway Drive or drop your donation in the collection box located at the Sheriff's office.
Not required to receive a helmet but recommended is that riders take safety and education courses such as offered by the Kentucky Motorcycle Rider Education Program (KMP), a set of rider education and training courses following nationally established guidelines and are accredited by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF). KMP is operated and maintained by the Traffic Safety Institute at Eastern Kentucky University.
Some safety tips are always important to keep in mind when operating a motorcycle or ATV and should especially be taught to children under 18:
• Listen to your parents, use common sense when operating an ATV or motorcycle.
• Know how all the controls work and be familiar with everything on your ATV.
• Never carry passengers on a single rider vehicle. A passenger may cause the vehicle to be imbalanced which may cause you to lose control.
• Ride an ATV that's sized right for you.
• Use a helmet that fits and use approved eye protection, boots, gloves and long pants.
• Take a safety course through 4-H or the ATV Safety Institute, 1-800-887-2887.
• Read the owner's manual.
• Never operate an ATV on pavement. The vehicle is not designed to be used on paved surfaces and may be difficult to control.
• Never operate an ATV on a public road because you may not be able to avoid colliding with other vehicles.
• Never consume alcohol or drugs before or while operating an ATV.
•Never operate an ATV at excessive speeds. Go at a speed which is proper for the terrain, visibility conditions, and your experience.
•Never attempt to do wheelies, jumps or other stunts.
•Always be careful when operating an ATV, especially when approaching hils, turns and obstacles and when operating on unfamiliar or rough terrain.
• Never lend your ATV to anyone who has not taken a training course or has no experience driving an ATV.
From 1982 through 2009 there have been 462 deaths in Kentucky related to ATV accidents, putting our state fifth overall in the country for ATV related deaths.
In Kentucky, the law requires that all riders younger than 21 years wear helmets, without exception. Those 21 years and older may ride without helmets only if they can show proof that they are covered by a medical insurance policy. Motorcycle helmet laws in Kentucky also cover operators with instructional/learner's permits.