They're only kids. They sometimes lack common sense. It's up to us motorists to watch out for them when they are riding their bicycles and sometimes motorized bikes and other vehicles on the streets.

Right?

The problem is that often these youngsters are very reckless and have absolutely no respect for traffic rules or oncoming vehicles. Some seem to virtually defy motorists to strike them.

This week, a member of Summit Hill Borough Council asked the mayor to have the police watch for some of the reckless antics of young riders.

The councilman, Bill Chapman, told how he witnessed a young bicyclist travel down the middle of the street between moving vehicles.

He was pumping gas and saw two ATV operators one about 12 and the other about 8 or 9 years old fill their vehicles with gas then proceed down the middle of a borough street.

An accident occurred recently in Summit Hill in which a bicyclist drove the bike into a car.

First hand experiences tell us how young bicyclists cut in front of our cars and have little other respect for oncoming traffic.

In many cases, the youngsters look to be only six or seven years old. Where are the parents?

We're sure this isn't just a problem in Summit Hill. It's happening everywhere. One of the problems is that children today seem to be more brazen, thus their defiant attitude. Unfortunately, it's not until someone gets seriously injured or worse that we pay heed.

And then, the motorist is often unfairly held responsible.

We agree with Chapman that police should become more involved, if nothing else but to stop and talk to children acting recklessly about safer play habits.

For habitual offenders the bikes should be confiscated and the parents notified.

Chapman said many of the violators don't wear helmets, which are required.

Nobody wants the police to be bullies to the children. On the other hand, nobody wants to see children suffer because of their antics.

With the ATVs, there's no reason young children should be entrusted to operate such high-powered vehicles. It's a recipe for disaster.

Tragedies happen too often. It's best when they can be prevented.

The police can be instrumental in such preventive measures.

By Ron Gower

rgower@tnonline.com [1]