Death of my Daughter in the Desert
I love dirt bikes and all aspects of the sport. I taught my whole family to ride and I clearly understand the benefits and risks associated with this type of activity. I can unconditionally state this because I recently lost my 18-year-old daughter in a desert accident. She was my treasure and I will miss her dearly forever. You need to understand I am not one to pass responsibility on to others. Off-road play is inherently dangerous and we must acknowledge this as part of our sport.
My daughter, an avid dirt bike girl, was driving one of the new off road jeep type vehicles. There are several of these types of vehicles on the market; Polaris Ranger, a Yamaha Rhino, Kawasaki Mule to name a few. My daughter was driving a Rhino in her accident. I do not hold Yamaha responsible but my conscience forces me to get this message out far and wide. With their size and roll bars, these vehicles give an impression of being very safe – certainly safer then a dirt bike or quad. Her accident was on a very flat, clean part of the desert. She was fully strapped in using an improved aftermarket 4-point (verses factory 3 point) restraint seatbelt. The vehicle rolled when she turned it and she was caught between the roll bar and ground.
I’m not opening this for a running debate; I just want everyone to understand that these vehicles are just as dangerous as our other off road toys. I have seen many people riding these with little or no protective gear, children in their laps, people standing in the back etc. Do not be fooled by the “perceived safety”. I encourage you to enjoy this new family of vehicles, but please treat it like a dirt bike or quad where the danger is much more self-evident. Make sure your family and friends wear protective gear! Ride with your children! Learn the vehicles capabilities. Respect these vehicles and play smart.
I beg you to learn from my loss. For each person we can make safer in the future it helps me take a small step forward trying to heal. Thank you for reading this and out of respect please pass it on to any it may benefit.