A bad hair day

Eleven-year-old Zach Banman admits he was going too fast on his ATV to make the corner

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Jeff Banman, Zach Banman and Juanita Banman

Jeff Banman, Zach Banman and Juanita Banman — Photo courtesy the Banman family

It was every mother’s nightmare. What was supposed to be a day of friends, fun and ATVing near Kingsgate, B.C., turned into a rescue mission as Juanita Banman came upon the crash site of her 11-year-old son Zach.

“When I came around the corner and saw Zach laying on the ground and his machine tangled up in the willow trees, I was in a state of disbelief. This can’t be my son.“

Being a nurse, Juanita knew this was a very serious situation. Paramedics arrived on scene and began to assess Zach’s condition. When all was said and done, Zach had a broken wrist and severe bruising on his thigh, knee and torso.

“I only remember laying on the ground,” said Zach. “I don’t remember the actual accident.” When asked what had caused the accident, Zach is very honest and to the point. “I am a competitive person and I made a very bad decision that day,” he said. “I knew I was going too fast but I wanted to win the race. The corner came out of nowhere and I missed it.” 

What has he learned? He openly admits he was going too fast for his skill level on his 150-cc ATV. All the safety equipment doesn’t help if you make bad decisions. 

The trauma from the accident has stayed with Zach. He initially had no desire to get back on an ATV, for fear of getting hurt. Gradually he tested the waters of ATVing riding with his father, Jeff. In time he switched seats with his father so he was driving while dad sat behind.

“That was a huge step for him and our whole family,” said Jeff. “We were all nervous at first, but knew he needed to face his fears and get back on an ATV.”

Zach then started to ride alone on his grandpa’s property. “A tiny track that meanders through the trees was a great place for him to get his confidence back up. He went slow and always knew we were within shouting distance if he needed our help,” Jeff said.

Zach has vowed to never let the need for speed influence his decision-making. He has a new respect for ATVs and will never again tease his mother about riding like a grandma. Zach speaks up if he sees someone riding in a way that could potentially be unsafe. “He has even told me to slow down,” laughed Jeff. 

This was a harsh and painful lesson for Zach, but having come out the other side with a new level of respect for ATVs and trust in his family, Zach is once again enjoying life on an ATV in the Kootenay backcountry.

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