Ok, so I've been away from the site for a while, been busy with life. This weekend I had a run-in with a well intended neighbor, however he caused such an unsafe condition that I really am still quite upset over it.
My 12 year old (and my 10 year old) has been getting more and more privileges when comes to what he can do when he is with me. I've taught him to ride a dirt bike, shoot guns and drive my 1025R around. I have not given them free reign to use it when they want or use it when I am not around. I have let them dig a little with the back-hoe but only on level ground and under close supervision at idle or just off of idle. I have let them carry tools in the bucket and drive it around the yard. Slow, steady...responsibly.
I haven't let them cut the grass with it yet because I feel they aren't ready to handle some of the obstacles in the front yard, but perhaps this year they will be.
So, while moving my small dozer (8000#) from my driveway to the shed I keep it in, I let my 12 year old drive it. I sat on the armrest and had foot access to the brake, hand access to both the transmission controls and the hydraulic controls. Using this as a good opportunity to give simple instruction of the basics in maneuvering a machine. I had already spent time with him going over how to start it, set the parking brake lift the front with the hyrdos... We were changing the oil and I wanted someone with me that could do these things in case I was unable to.
Out of nowhere my older neighbor shows up yelling and screaming, flailing his arms -I literally had to back him off and let him know I wasn't going to be messed with. I was first concerned with his safety and what he was up to, then I immediately switched to Dad mode and ignored him focusing on my son and making sure he was not distracted. Once I got to the shed I took up words with him.
I have known this man my whole life. One of his kids and I rode motorcycles together and hung out through high school. Another of his kids is still friends with my older sister...we've known each other for a long time.
His issue was that it was totally illegal for my kid to be driving any of my equipment. (We never even came close to a road) He stated that he would call the cops if he ever saw it again and went on and on and on. I finally snapped and asked him about his background as a heavy equipment operator and asked him if he would have tolerated anyone distracting him while operating heavy equipment. He got a little sheepish and tried to change the subject.
Anyhow, I am not looking for an argument to use, just wondering if anyone knows of any laws that apply to private use equipment. Everything I search for appears to be farm related, job related, road use related... I can't find anything on PA laws that say I was doing anything illegal. I think this is important as I am just getting ready to take on a project and was going to get my 12 year old to use the box grader pulling gravel off of my driveway and a few other "easy" functions. If there is a legal issue I would like to know about it. If not, I will need to be prepared to tell a long-time, well intentioned neighbor to keep his nose out of my business.
Just for reference on the neighbor, they have babysat my kids when they were younger, I plow his driveway for the last 3 years and don't ask for anything in return. His wife is ill with dementia and Alzheimer's, he has a bad/weak heart... I don't really want to modify my relationship with him but if it comes to my safety and my kids I will do what I need to do.