Published September 22, 2020
Commissioners and Counties,
I put together a few words to say thank you to everyone for the opportunity to serve as MACo’s President. It has truly been an honor to represent you this past year, a year that has surely been one to remember for all of us. I know I certainly will not forget it.
The pandemic has impacted my term. I sadly cannot list trips across the state this year, but we collectively have learned a lot on this journey. More time with family, a slowing-down of our lives, and being at home more was maybe something we needed.
I am proud of the work that MACo does daily. To the staff, I thank you for holding everything together. You are deeply appreciated.
During the annual business meeting of the MACo Members during the Virtual Annual Conference, I will be presenting a resolution on which I have been working. I am proud of of this resolution. It is in honor of our son Brodie; his life was taken in an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) accident on our family ranch.
The loss of our son has greatly impacted our lives, and our family takes sharing our experience very seriously. We never want another family to go through a loss like ours.
The resolution promotes ATV safety across Montana. The U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission received reports of 15,744 ATV related fatalities occurring between 1982 and 2018. Of those fatalities, 3,353 were children younger than 16 years of age, representing 21 percent of all causalities. In 2016, which is the most recent year that reporting is considered complete, 11 percent of the deaths were children younger than 16 years of age. Within that 11 percent, 45 percent were under the age of 12.
Every county in Montana has a story about the loss of a life in their area. It is something about which I feel we need to raise awareness and address.
Below are some rules of the trail to make safety a part of the plan for every ride and help reduce ATV-related deaths and injuries:
- Always wear a Department of Transportation (DOT) compliant helmet, goggles, long sleeves, long pants, over-the-ankle boots, and gloves.
- Never ride on paved roads except to cross when done safely and permitted by law.
- Never ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Never carry a passenger on a single-rider ATV, and no more than one passenger on an ATV specifically designed for two people.
- Ride an ATV that is right for your age.
- Supervise riders younger than 16.
- Ride only on designated trails and at a safe speed.
- Do not allow a child under 16 to drive or ride an adult ATV.
Thank you to all the hard-working commissioners and again to the staff for all they do. This year has flown by, and I am grateful for the opportunity to have served as president. Stay safe and God Bless.
Shane Gorder, MACo President
Richland County Commissioner