ATV’s – Much Fun But Extremely Dangerous

Quad Bikes – Four Wheelers, Three Wheelers – Really Dangerous Toys

The quest for family fun can turn to grief in one terrifying moment. Over the past decade, all-terrain vehicles also referred to as quad bikes, quads, three-wheelers or four-wheelers, rose in popularity. There are currently more than 7.5 million quad bikes in use in the United States, injuring a staggering 1,500,000 and killing approximately 7,868 in the last ten years, nearly a third of which are children.

Millions of people use quad bikes for family outings, hunting, ranching, and exploring recreational areas such as the dunes. According to Federal records, most deaths are caused in crashes where the ATV flip backward or forward or roll over sideways. Most of the overturns typically happen as a result of the ATV hitting something or tumbling off a steep drop. Government data shows that the majority of fatal crashes are caused by rollovers, which seem to pose an increasing danger as ATV manufacturers make heavier machines.

Although contact sports and bicycling do cause more injuries, the injuries as a result of ATVs are more severe. Chief of Trauma and Critical Care at Oregon Health and Science University, Dr. Richard Mullins, said a recent study indicated an increase in ATV accident victims with more than a quarter of the patients younger than fifteen. Dr. Mullins also said the way manufacturers market the bigger and faster machines bother him. According to the doctor, the industry makes off-road bikes look like fun, however, there is nothing fun about a ruptured eyeball or a brain injury.

Quad bikes are dangerous because there is no rear-wheel differential, lack suspension, they have a high center of gravity, and are less stable when speeding. ATVs are not safe to use on highways, paved roads, streets, or too rough or steep terrain. Head injuries are the number-one cause of fatal ATV crashes. Training on the proper use of an ATV, rider education, safety precautions, and protective gear are all steps towards preventing crashes.

Safeguard Yourself Against All Elements

The Consumer Product Safety Commission’s crash data and research involving almost 3,000 fatal accidents showed that riders who followed all the safety warnings overturned in about two out of every five cases. Speeding recklessly, drunken driving, rollovers, hill climbing, and defective auto parts are some of the causes of ATV accidents. Most ATVs are designed to carry one person only. A passenger can alter the distribution of weight and limit the driver’s ability to control the ATV.

Free training is provided by the State of Missouri to individuals who purchase all-terrain vehicles. This training addresses safety techniques, local laws, and the proper use of protective gear. The training course is presented by a certified instructor and covers the inspection of the vehicle, how to operate the ATV on hills, riding over obstacles, and turning.

Protective clothing and the consistent use of a good helmet can save lives. It is important to safeguard yourself against possible flying objects such as bugs or rocks. Eye protection and helmets certified by the American National Standards Institute or the Departments of Transportation are highly recommended.

All-Terrain Vehicles are not Safe Toys for Children

Children, who are not equipped to handle the powerful engine, often fall victim to a rollover accident. As a result of the increase in ATV accidents, thirty-one states in the United States require a helmet, and twenty-eight states have minimum rider age laws.

The National Conference of State Legislatures compiled a list of ATV safety laws by state in January 2014. Some states are not on the list, while other states impose age restrictions. Children younger than the age of six are not allowed to drive an ATV in the states of South Carolina, Texas, and New Mexico.

Missouri Law requires that a person under the age of sixteen is not allowed to register an ATV or operate an off-road vehicle unless accompanied by a parent or driving on a parent’s land. Fifteen percent of all fatal ATV crashes take the lives of children under the age of twelve. Driver inexperience is a huge factor that contributes to the crashes occurring each year.

The Consumer Federation of America said in a press release in April 2014, that all-terrain vehicles are dangerous to children. The American Association of Pediatrics said that the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission could reject the manufacture of ATVs for children between the ages of fourteen to sixteen that is capable of traveling up to thirty-eight miles per hour.

Children should be prohibited from riding ATVs manufactured for adults. Experts strongly recommend that parents should not allow young children to ride all-terrain vehicles because they lack the necessary strength, cognitive ability, knowledge, and size. Children are not capable of operating heavy and complex machines.

Just Jump On and Go

All too often the ATV industry portrays many of the ATVs as being as safe as a car or truck. They have pictures of people just hopping in them and tearing off, with no seat belts or minimal safety gear. This false impression causes many individuals to think of ATV’s as safe as a normal car or truck. However, this is far from reality. ATV’s are much lighter and not subjected to the same strict testing as a motor vehicle fit for use on the highways. As such, they cannot undergo the same type of use as a normal car or truck. Riders need to remember that these vehicles are not the same as their everyday automobile. If you treat them like they are, a turn may result in the vehicle tipping over and landing on top of the rider. Be safe.