Mother of boy killed while riding ATV calls for full-out ban
Published Wednesday, April 14, 2010 4:31PM MDT
The mother of a 12-year-old boy killed while riding an all terrain vehicle nearly three years ago is now calling for an all-out ban on the machine for young children. The woman's message comes as a fatality inquiry into her son's death emerges.
Kirkland Gour died in 2007 after his ATV flipped near the family's home in Nampa, Alta.
This marks the first fatality inquiry involving an ATV in Alberta, which will examine the circumstances that caused the incident and how it could have been prevented.
"I miss him everyday -- think about him before I go to bed, when I wake up," Kirkland's mother Donna Gour tells CTV News. "When we go to family functions we just don't seem whole anymore because Kirk's not there."
The boy's quad flipped and he was then pinned underneath. He wasn't wearing a helmet at the time and died at the scene.
On Tuesday, the inquiry heard testimony about the safety of the machine in question and how likely it is to tip over during use.
An Edmonton engineer tested the model and graded its stability as middle of the road. The engineer warned that the stability can change with a child on board.
"Children first off don't have the experience to know when it's going to roll. They just assume because it's always been upright they can just steer where they want to go and that's one of the problems. They don't know it's going to roll until it does," said Dr. David Checkel with the University of Alberta.
Another expert witness told the court children don't have the strength or cognitive ability to operate such large machines. The expert says the province needs to enact tougher legislation and ban kids under the age of 12 from riding them. It was also suggested that strict conditions should be in place for older children.
"They should be wearing a helmet and appropriate gear. They should be trained and they should be riding the appropriate size ATV," said Kathy Belton with the Alberta Centre for Injury Control.
Donna Gour now warns other parents to think twice before allowing their children to ride an ATV.
"They're dangerous. They're machines. Guys call them toys but they're machines," she said.
The province says it has looked into the possibility of age restrictions and mandatory helmet laws for these machines, but so far, no legislation has been brought forward.
On Wednesday, the court is expected to hear from the ATV industry. And it's expected officials will defend the machines as safe and argue that most accidents are caused by driver error.
With files from Scott Roberts