ATV Safety and Risks
All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are very popular and can be safe depending on the rider and their level of experience. Individuals should always be coached and supervised before taking off for a joy ride, and especially younger kids.
This is because the average weight of an ATV is around 350 to 400 pounds and the average weight of a 12-year-old is 90 pounds. Getting on a powerful machine that is 4 times your body weight without knowing what you are doing is an accident waiting to happen.
Speaking of accidents, here are some statistics from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC) on ATV fatalities and injuries:
-As of December 31, 2016, CPSC staff received reports of 14,653 ATV-related fatalities occurring between 1982 and 2016. CPSC staff received reports of 337 ATV-related fatalities
occurring in 2016, 484 occurring in 2015, and 581 occurring in 2014. Reporting for the years 2014 through 2016 is ongoing; these numbers are expected to increase in future reports.1
-From 1982 through 2016, CPSC staff received reports of 3,232 ATV-related fatalities of children younger than 16 years of age. This represents 22 percent of the total number of
reported ATV-related fatalities (14,653).
-Of the 3,232 reported ATV-related fatalities of children younger than 16 years of age (from 1982 through 2016), 1,411 (44 percent) were younger than 12 years of age.
See more statistics here: 2016 Report of ATV-Related Deaths and Injuries
Adult-sized ATVs should never be ridden by children. There are plenty of kid-safe ATVs that are lighter and not as powerful, but they still need supervision and training.
Some ATVs are actually color coded for age appropriateness. For example, a yellow ATV is not supposed to be ridden by anyone under the age of 14 and blue colored ATVs are only for age 16 and older.
ATV Safety Tips
You are 70% more likely to die in an ATV accident without a helmet, so a helmet should always be worn and you should avoid riding with a passenger.
Also, for the most part, they aren’t legal to ride on a public road because they don’t have the equipment needed for the highway such as mirrors, blinkers, headlights, etc. As with any vehicle, never get on an ATV after drinking or doing drugs.
This video offers some common sense advice for ATV enthusiasts:
All-Terrain Vehicle Tires
Depending on the type of terrain you ride on, the tires you use will make a significant difference. Off-road tires are built to dig their way through loose dirt and sand, trudge through mud and snow, and climb over rocky terrain.
The tread pattern is deep and allows the ATV to grip into wet and dry surfaces. Highway tires are made for a smoother, quieter ride, but aren’t going to grab the road as easily in inclement weather.
The main five types of tires for ATVs are:
- Rocky or Hard Terrain
- Racing Tires
- Snow Tires
See more info here: The Five Tire Types That Help You Get A Grip In Different Terrains
Each state has its own regulations regarding all-terrain vehicles and in Texas, there are specific ATV guidelines for use on public property. ATVs are allowed on a public road only if you are a farmer/rancher, public utility worker, or a law enforcement officer. In addition, you can only be traveling up to 25 miles.
The key to safety with any vehicle is being responsible and using common sense. If you enjoy the great outdoors, an ATV is a fun way to experience it, but just remember that safety never takes a holiday.