Off-road safety urged in wake of tragic death
by Rachel Davis
Nov 07, 2013 | 1668 views | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In the wake of Saturday’s tragic death at a local off-road vehicle park, officials are reinforcing the importance of using the safety restraints and basic safety protocols when riding ORVs or all terrain vehicles.

Joshua Blake Harper, 25, of Hueytown, was pronounced dead at Biscuit Mountain ORV in Oakman Saturday afternoon.

Walker County Coronor J.C. Poe said Harper died from head injuries sustained when the ORV he was driving rolled over.

According to ATV Magazine, ATVs are commonly referred to as four-wheelers. They are commonly purchased because of their versatility, use of towing and transport and much lower price tag. The ORVs are more commonly enclosed and include a rollbar or cab and safety restraints. These vehicles are often more expensive and can be used for more specialized duties.

According to Biscuit Mountain ORVs website, the park only allowed for ORVs (such as the RZR Josh Harper was said to be driving Saturday) to be ridden on its trails. The rules also require riders on the trails to wear safety restraints. Harper was said to be unrestrained when the vehicle rolled over.

His wife, who was a passenger, was restrained and was treated for minor injuries at the scene.

The rules do not require helmets, but strongly encourage their use. Harper was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident Saturday.

According to, the number of ATV-related deaths and injuries that require emergency room visits have steadily decreased over the last few years, after reaching an all-time high in the mid-2000s. Alabama reported 71 ATV-related deaths during a period from 2008-2011.