ATV Accidents and Injuries Make for a Rough Ride
ATVs, UTVs, and quads are driven most over warm summer days and nights, but not all riders of these all-terrain vehicles will tuck them away soon. They also work as great companions for agricultural use and traveling to hunting stands. When driven properly, ATVs can be great fun and very useful. Unfortunately, just as with any vehicle, accidents and injuries do happen. Riders might stray into oncoming traffic or come across a hazardous ATV route. If you own or ride an ATV, UTV, or quad, you should be very familiar with the rules and regulations of your vehicle as well as the county in which you travel.
Over 93,000 people received emergency room treatment for ATV-related injuries in 2014, according to a report by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Twenty-six percent of those injuries were on children. The good news is that the number of injuries and fatalities has been decreasing. Experts expect injuries to rise again in coming years, but we can always do our best to avoid accidents all together by riding safely.
ATVs are made for off-road use. They don’t have on-road tires, lighting or turn signal equipment needed for highway use. Plus, they have a high center of gravity and a narrow wheelbase that prevent them from being easily controlled on paved roads. This being said, many preventable injuries happen on public roads in spite of most states often making it illegal to drive an ATV on the road. The Wisconsin DNR ATV Rules and Regulations states that there should be no riding in ditches “like snowmobilers” unless it’s authorized for ATV use, and that “Operation on and around public roads is restricted and in most cases illegal.”
Another important rule is that children ages 12 to 15 should only drive accompanied by an adult. Even so, the ATV’s size should fit the rider. “An ATV is basically a chassis with four wheels and a high center of gravity, so it’s inherently unstable. And the driver’s body movement is an integral part of the handling,” says Todd M. Emanuel, R.N., injury prevention coordinator for Mayo Clinic’s emergency services in Rochester, Minn. “Most kids don’t have the size, physical strength and balance to control these vehicles, especially adult-sized ones. It’s just too much machine for small bodies.” And carrying passengers, which is illegal in some states, makes ATVs even more likely to tip or roll over.
ATVs can be a fun way to spend time in the great outdoors, but they can be just as dangerous as cars, motorcycles, trucks or sport utility vehicles, reinforcing the need for safe operating procedures. For ATV safety tips by the Wisconsin DNR, click here.
Injuries from an ATV accident can cost a chunk of change in the emergency room and for follow-up treatment. You may want to speak with a lawyer if you believe you were injured at no fault of your own, such as colliding with a reckless driver, rolling over on a hazardous ATV path, or even a vehicle defect. Call our experienced attorneys at Sperling Law Offices LLC in Milwaukee at 414-273-7777 to set up a free consultation. You can also visit www.MilwaukeeLawFirm.com for more information.