Indiana ATV helmet law begins July 1

Person rides an ATV. (WISH File Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — As a new off-road vehicle law goes into effect, Indiana Department of Resources is looking to do more than write tickets.

Starting July 1, all minors riding an ATV must wear a helmet. It’s a new law department Capt. William Browne hopes will reduce the number of calls he receives.

“I will tell you that it never is easy, but it does not measure up to a family member who has suffered a loss when a child was recreating,” Cpt. Browne said.

Law enforcement aren’t the only ones hoping this law reduces injuries. Hoosiers think this could be a good law.

“It should be a case that all people that are in open vehicles need to wear a helmet,” Franklin resident James Piper said.

“Kids just want to get out there and go on and play around, and not think about having a helmet on,” Franklin resident Tanya Bailey said.

If they’re caught without a helmet, the rider or vehicle owner could get a $500 ticket.

“I think it’s probably enough (of a penalty) to see what happens,” Bailey said. “I guess if a lot of them still don’t do it; then they should raise it.”

Not just any helmet will do. To comply, the helmet must be U.S. Department of Transportation-approved. A DOT sticker can usually be found on the head protection.

The state Department of Natural Resources said, over the past six years, 29 minors have died on ATVs, and more than 450 have been injured.

“Some of those injuries are actually very serious brain trauma injuries,” Browne said. “So they may still have lived through it, but they have very life injuries that go along with it.”

In addition to enforcement, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is focused on education. It uses an ATV safety crash-test dummy and a vehicle to demonstrate the importance of rider safety.

The DNR is also looking to educate outside its department during a meeting scheduled for next week.

“We are actually getting together with other state agencies and private organizations that have an interest in this and we’re collaborating how are they going to educate,” Browne said.

It’s a push Browne hopes will reduce these types of calls.

“I don’t know if it’s realistic or not, but zero would be a great number to have,” Browne said.

While the law applies to ATVs, it does not impact snowmobiles.

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