In 2010, it is estimated that at least 55 children under age 16 were killed in ATV accidents, and more than 28,000 others were seriously injured. Not surprisingly, experts say the summer months of June and July are the peak months for ATV injuries and deaths. One of the big reasons for these statistics is that ATVs have somehow developed an image as toys. However, nothing can be further from the truth. Tragically, sometimes the first time this realization is made is when a child is killed or suffers serious personal injury in an ATV accident. ATV accidents have become such a hazard to children that the American Academy of Pediatrics has even weighed in on the issue. In warning that ATVs are dangerous to children, the Academy states that ATVs are "heavy, complex machines" and that children simply are not "developmentally capable of operating them".
Of course, the dangers of ATV riding are not limited to children. While adult riders are developmentally capable of operating these machines, they are not immune from the many dangers associated with ATV riding. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has underscored this point. In warning consumers that ATVs are dangerous (just like the American Academy of Pediatrics warned), the Commission states that "ATVs are the fifth deadliest product that [it] oversees" and annually "700 people die and 136,000 go to the emergency room" as a result of ATV injuries.
If you or a loved one enjoys ATV riding, please follow the below rules provided by the ATV industry to better protect riders:
1. Always wear a helmet
2. Never ride on a public road
3. Never ride with a passenger
4. One size ATV does not fit all (this is a critical point as ATVs are color coded to know which is right for each age group depending on engine size, speed size and the actual size of the ATV).
Despite the dangers they pose, ATVs are more popular than ever. There are now 11 million ATVs in use for recreation or work purposes compared to 4 million just over 15 years ago. This may be a testament to the recreational fun and utilitarian use this versatile machine offers if used correctly.