Effective July 1, state law will require children under age 18 to wear an approved helmet when riding any off-road vehicle (ORV) on public or private property in Indiana, including Interlake and Redbird state recreation areas.
House Enrolled Act 1200, which was signed into law by Gov. Eric J. Holcomb on April 26, means changes to the rules at the two off-road-riding properties owned and operated by the Department of Natural Resources, Redbird and Interlake. Redbird SRA is near Linton, and Interlake SRA is near Lynnville.
Both properties previously required children and adults to wear approved helmets when riding all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and dirt bikes but not when riding side-by-side ORVs equipped with roll bars or overhead protection. HEA 1200 applies to both ATVs and side-by-side ORVs. The new law will add the requirement that children in side-by-side ORVs wear approved helmets.
Currently the DNR riding properties do not require children or adults to wear approved helmets when riding side-by-side ORVs, but the DNR recommends everyone wear approved helmets when doing any off-road riding.
Under the new law, owners of ORVs who allow children younger than age 18 to ride their ORV on public or private property without wearing an approved helmet can be charged with a Class C infraction, which carries a maximum penalty of $500.
“Approved helmets” are those that meet U.S. Department of Transportation standards.
Redbird and Interlake will not have helmets available for borrow or rent. Visitors who want their children to be allowed to ride ATVs at those properties will need to bring the proper amount of approved helmets with them in order to access the properties.
Once inside either property, violators of the new law will be subject to penalties, as well as expulsion from the property.
To prepare for the change and to maximize safety of children, Redbird and Interlake property manager Carman Jackson recommends customers acquire approved children’s helmets and have their children start wearing them before July 1.
“Having children wear helmets before July 1 will allow plenty of time to figure out the correct sizing for children’s helmets and for children’s neck muscles to acclimate to supporting the weight of the helmet before getting into the hilly terrain at our properties,” Jackson said.
The new law does not affect the riders of snowmobiles, which do not fall under the legal definition of ORV per Indiana Code 14-8-2-185.
SOURCE: Department of Natural Resources