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Police: Death of ATV operator avoidable | News

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Police: Death of ATV operator avoidable
Troy Barnes

NORTH LAS VEGAS -- A memorial full of candles and flowers now marks the spot where Troy Barnes died.His friends are expressing grief on his Facebook page over a death police and safety experts say could have been prevented.

North Las Vegas police found the 26-year-old Barnes barely alive at the bottom of a drainage ditch. His ATV was flipped over on its side after making a fast turn and going over a fence. He landed 12 feet down.

"He was unable to negotiate it,” North Las Vegas Police Officer Aaron Petty said. “He ultimately fell into a ditch."

Police said Barnes suffered severe injuries because he wasn't wearing a helmet. 

"That's why there are laws set in place, because they don't belong on the roadway,” Petty said.

A friend, Greg Blackwell, said Barnes was testing out the ATV. He had never been on one before.

ATV safety experts advise riders to wear protective gear, including a helmet, goggles and gloves. They also say these machines don't belong on paved roads, where they are illegal.

"The tires that are on these ATVs and UTVs are not designed for the street,” Awesome Adventures owner Chuck Law said. “They're a lot less pressure."

Safety experts warn that ATV tires cannot safely make turns on pavement.

"They're very knobby,” Awesome Adventures owner Jill Williams said. “They have the tendency to grab, where on the pavement they're really going to grab on the dirt. They'll have a tendency to slide a little bit, which gives you more play going around the corners.”

It can be difficult for riders to walk away from a crash.

"I have seen accidents that have happened on the pavement and they're not pretty,” Williams said. “You know, you have your safety gear that you should be wearing all the time, but unfortunately, people feel that it is not important to wear."

Children account for roughly 17 percent of ATV deaths, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Consumer warnings advise that no one under age 16 should operate an ATV.