Another child racer has been killed, this time a 12-year-old boy who died as the result of a crash while racing a 250cc motorcycle at a racetrack in California. (For details, click here)
The accident happened March 3 at Buttonwillow Raceway Park and he’d been in a coma ever since at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles.
He was at Children’s Hospital, of course, because he was a child. He was taken off life support there on Monday.
I have to report these stories from time to time and I hate doing it because any racing death is awful but those involving children are, to me, incomprehensible.
(I also have difficulty because my position on children racing is the opposite of many of my friends and some of them have their own kids involved.)
I am the father of three children and it never once crossed my mind to deliberately expose any of them to a game or activity in which they could be badly hurt, or worse. I believe the role of a parent is to protect children from danger until they reach an age when they can fully realize and appreciate the consequences and can make up their own minds whether or not to participate.
I don’t believe a 12-year-old – any 12-year-old – is mature enough to understand the meaning of death, which is something that can happen in a motor sport.
I don’t understand how a parent can sign a waiver that then allows a minor child to participate in something that could kill him. A parent can’t sign something that says it’s okay for their child to drink (which they can’t do, in licensed premises in most of Canada, until they are 19 and in the U.S. until they are 21). A parent can’t send a note over to the convenience store saying it’s okay for their kid to buy cigarettes. A child in Ontario has to stay in school until they turn 18, whether they want to or not, and a parent can’t sign something changing that. So how come it’s okay for a parent to put a 6-, 7- or 12-year-old on a motorcycle in competition and potentially sign that child’s life away?
I know the arguments. Motor sport teaches a child self-discipline, respect and manners. Physical fitness, mechanical skills and mental focus are other positives.
And I know all about “racing families,” where generations have been involved and, in some cases, the family business is in the sport and it’s natural for the children to want to follow the parents.
But although in some of those cases it’s understandable, it still doesn’t make it right. There are too many children at motor races who don’t want to be there but force themselves to fire up the kart or the bike and drive off to race so as not to disappoint their father – or to avoid catching hell later.
On their Facebook page, the family of the boy, Kenny Anderson, wrote that he “died doing what he loved.” Well, loving is learned behaviour and somebody taught him.
In the end, what matters is that a 12-year-old boy is dead before he really started to live. And that’s tragic. As the late sports columnist Dick Beddoes once wrote, and which I’ve repeated several times since and do so again today:
Now he knows all about death – before he knew very much about life.
Columns Everything you need to know about purchasing, maintaining and driving your car.
Become a member
Register now to access all features including:
- Save and ask friends to review vehicles
- Exclusive rebates & offers from local dealers
- Premium content, reviews and tools
All for free!
Already a member?
Registration 2 of 2
Welcome to Wheels!
As a final step we've sent a confirmation to your email address as a security measure. Please click the link in the email to complete your registration.
Terms of services
DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTIES AND LIMITATION OF LIABILITY
TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, TORONTO STAR IS PROVIDING THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES ON AN "AS IS" AND â€œAS AVAILABLEâ€ BASIS AND MAKES NO WARRANTIES OR REPRESENTATIONS, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, IN ANY CONNECTION WITH THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES, THEIR CONTENTS, OR ANY WEB SITE OR CONTENTS WITH WHICH IT IS LINKED. TORONTO STAR DOES NOT WARRANT THAT THE FUNCTION OF THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES OR THEIR CONTENTS WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED OR ERROR FREE, THAT DEFECTS WILL BE CORRECTED, OR THAT THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES OR THE SERVERS THAT MAKE IT AVAILABLE ARE FREE OF VIRUSES OR OTHER HARMFUL COMPONENTS.
TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, NEGLIGENCE, SHALL TORONTO STAR BE LIABLE FOR ANY LOSS OF USE, LOSS OF DATA, LOSS OF INCOME OR PROFIT, LOSS OF OR DAMAGE TO PROPERTY, OR FOR ANY DAMAGES OF ANY KIND OR CHARACTER (INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION ANY COMPENSATORY, INCIDENTAL, DIRECT, INDIRECT, SPECIAL, PUNITIVE, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES), EVEN IF TORONTO STAR HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES OR LOSSES, ARISING OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE USE OF THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES, THEIR CONTENTS, OR ANY WEBSITE OR CONTENTS WITH WHICH IT IS LINKED. IN NO EVENT SHALL TORONTO STARâ€™S TOTAL LIABILITY FOR ALL DAMAGES, LOSSES, AND CAUSES OF ACTION, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, TORT (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, NEGLIGENCE), OR OTHERWISE, EXCEED THE AMOUNT PAID BY YOU FOR ACCESSING THIS SITE.X