The Real Dangers Of All Terrain Vehicles

There is nothing greater than the wide outdoors and open spaces, and for outdoor types (some motorcycle accident attorneys included), hopping on an ATV and ploughing up some dirt makes for an exhilarating experience. However, there is much evidence to show that riding an ATV might just be more dangerous than you would think…

ATV’s or All Terrain Vehicles are used for a variety of things. They can be used for work purposes, particularly on farms and are also used for recreation. Under American national standards, in order to be called an ATV it must have a seat that is straddled by the operator, handlebars similar to a bike for steering and low pressure tires. They come in either 3 or 4 wheel varieties and range from a 43cc two stoke child’s vehicle all the way up to the massive 950cc Arctic Cat. Some of them are built as work horses and can tow loads of up to 700kgs and some of them have extremely quick race tuned engines which can reach speeds in excess of 80mph, not bad for something that weighs around 1000lbs (1 ton). Despite the vast variety in sizes, shapes, styles and speed, they can all be extremely dangerous if they’re not handled properly.

2006 was a particularly bad year for ATV related accidents in that it saw 526 fatalities and more than 14,600 people injured. Most of these accidents can be put down to three elements. Motorcycle accident lawyers explain…

Manufacturing defects

Faulty brakes, faulty steering, sticking throttle cable, or bad tires can all be serious contenders for a potential accident and surprisingly there have been number of vehicle recalls on ATV’s with these issues. This being the case, it may pay to get your quad properly checked out by a registered mechanic.

Unstable designs

Similarly to SUV’s, many of these All Terrain Vehicles are of an unstable design with a high center of gravity. This means that if a corner is taken at speed, or the vehicle hits uneven terrain at speed, then there is as chance that the vehicle could suffer roll-over. However unlike a car you aren’t inside a steel cage for protection. Instead, there is a good chance that you will have 1000 lbs of ATV bearing down on top of you. Injuries from an ATV rollover could result in head and neck trauma, spinal injuries, crush injuries, paralysis and amputation.

Driver error

Clearly driver error is a big problem, as many states have no age limits for riding an ATV. Children as young as 6 and 7 are riding what are deemed to be pretty powerful machines (albeit on private land) and there are many calls to ban children under the age of 16 from driving them altogether. Even experienced riders have been seriously injured because they lost concentration for a split second. If you have been involved in an ATV accident through no fault of your own, then you should contact an experienced team of motorcycle accident lawyers Los Angeles. They have the ability to thoroughly investigate a case and as a result, can look to deliver maximum compensation.

What if you already own an ATV?

Clearly not every ATV rider is going to be involved in an accident, but just to minimise that risk further, here are some tips you can follow that will reduce the risk of ATV accidents.

  • Wear the right safety gear – Helmets will protect your head and goggles will protect your eyes from any debris hitting you in the face.
  • Heavy duty jackets will not only keep you warm, but will act as protection against cuts and bruises should you take a tumble
  • Drive only in safe conditions and terrain that you are familiar with
  • Watch your speed
  • Maintain your ATV regularly

ATV’s are popular and will always be many people’s idea of fun and adventure (even for a motorcycle accident attorney) and this is not to say that they needn’t be. However, by simply following the above tips, and keeping safety at the forefront of your mind, there is no reason why we cannot reduce the risk of ATV accidents and enjoy the freedom that they can give responsibly.