Opinion: I've been riding quad bikes since I was five - we shouldn't ban kids from doing it

OPINION: When I was six years old, I remember crashing my 50cc dirt bike into a stack of fence posts because I'd tried to drive between them. 

It hurt my pride and my young ego, but it also taught me more about steering and control than I would have ever learned if I'd hopped on a quad bike for the first time a decade later. 

By the age of 16 I'd crashed many bikes, cracked a few helmets and injured myself more times than could be counted on a couple of hands and feet. 

Erin Speedy (Supplied)
Erin Speedy (Supplied)

But also, the tally of falls from my horse and severe injuries from that were much higher (my back will never be the same). 

Should we ban all kids from riding horses too? Why don't we just wrap them in cotton wool instead? 

Yes, quad bikes are strong. They are powerful, they are hard to control. If you drive them along steep terrain, you could flip. You drive them on uneven ground, you could roll.

I agree with the age warnings which are on the more powerful all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).

But I also know that children under the age of 16 can operate them well, and responsibly, if they have proper training and supervision. 

Erin Speedy (Supplied)
Erin Speedy (Supplied)

I remember sitting as a five-year-old in front of my dad on one, hanging onto the handle bars "steering" the bike and "driving" the throttle. 

I was never in control of the bike at any point because Dad held his hands over mine but that's not the point. The point here is that he taught us how to drive from a young age. 

We had safety drilled into us, constantly told the very thing we were trying to control was powerful and dangerous. 

We were taught what to do on a steep hill, how to drive rutty tracks, what not to do, what never to do, and the mistakes that could kill us. 

So by the time I was handed full control, I was well aware of the dangers, but I also had the ability to drive.

At the end of the day, if you put someone under 16 on a powerful farm ATV unaware of the bike's capability and without the ability to ride - whose responsibility is that? 

Erin Speedy is a Newshub reporter.

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