WILLIAMSON, W.Va. – As ATV riding season approaches in Mingo County, ATV safety instructor courses are being taught in Williamson to ensure all participants in the sport are well prepared.
West Virginia University 4-H Extension Agent Mark Whitt has been leading these courses, with a main goal of having more instructors available to provide these free services in West Virginia.
Several volunteers helped with the instruction, including a deputy sheriff, three extension agents, a teacher from Boone County, a volunteer firefighter from Chattaroy, a teacher from Tug Valley High School, and a teacher from Mingo Central High School. Chief instructor Mike Klumpp from Oklahoma was also present for the training, which is offered free of charge with the hope that fewer ATV-related deaths will occur in West Virginia.
Whitt has taken his instruction to local schools, focusing mainly on the safe and responsible use of all-terrain vehicles and other specialty vehicles. He said, “West Virginia has a terrible statistic of averaging 50 deaths a year related to ATV accidents.” He went on to explain that, with proper ATV safety training, that number can be drastically improved.
For example, over the course of 13 years, only six ATV-related deaths have occurred on the Hatfield-McCoy trails. That is a large difference from the more than 300 deaths West Virginia saw in 2013 from ATV-related accidents…