Also referred to as a four-wheeler, an ATV can weigh as much as 800 pounds and can travel at speeds up to 75 miles per hour. The sale of three-wheelers was banned in 1988 after studies showed that operators were twice as likely to be injured than were four-wheel operators because of an increased risk of roll-over crashes.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported 13,043 deaths from 1982-2013 in the United States. Even more startling are the estimated 99,600 ATV-related injuries that were treated in emergency rooms in 2013 alone, with 25 percent involving children younger than 16 years of age.
You can stay safer on trails and the jobsite by following these top 10 recommendations:
- Don’t let children under 16 ride adult-sized ATVs, and educate them about safety. Children 6-11 years of age should not operate a unit larger than 50cc. Children 12-16 years of age should not operate one larger than 90cc.
- Always wear a helmet, eye protection, and protective clothing.
- Don’t carry passengers.
- Attend an ATV-operator training course.
- Don’t ride on paved roads; ATVs are difficult to control on pavement.
- Don’t drink and drive.
- Avoid excessive speed. Travel at speeds appropriate for the terrain and conditions.
- Read the owner’s manual.
- Do a pre-ride safety check (tires, wheels, chain, cables).
- Consult your state’s DNR (Department of Natural Resources) for local regulations.