Summer days bring out the sense of outdoor adventure in all of us, and if that means off-road fun to you, you've probably already taken your ATV out for a spin or two. But when we say "spin", we hope that doesn’t mean an "upender" or other type of accident.
A new report from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) notes that in 2013, the latest year for which figures are available, there were an estimated 99,600 ATV-related injuries seen in hospital emergency departments. Worse, between 1982 and 2013, some 13,043 people died in ATV accidents -- 23% of them children under 16. 43% of the youngsters who died were less than 12 years old.
These are tragic numbers, so although we don’t want to spoil the fun of ATV-ing, they emphasize the importance of safe riding and, especially, instructions for young people. This is so critical that CPSC has set up a dedicated website -- ATVSafety.gov -- with the blunt warning: Before you hit the trails, take knowledge to the extreme.
The site offers six key safety tips aimed at reducing the risk of accident or injury:
1. Get trained. Don't start or allow others to ride an ATV until you/they have completed a formal, hands-on training course.
2. When riding, wear protective gear at all times. A helmet is the most important piece of kit; many ATV accidents involve head injuries.
3. Don't take a passenger or ride as one, unless the bike is designed for two. Passengers affect the weight distribution and maneuverability of ATVs.
4. Don't ride your ATV on paved roads. They're not built for that and so are difficult to control on paved surfaces.
5. Don’t allow kids to drive adult ATVs. Most of the child accidents in the statistics above involved kids using adult machines.
6. Don't "use" and drive! Obvious, yet, alcohol and drug use are key factors in many accidents.
If you're looking to find an ATV rider course, use this link to the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America: http://tinyurl.com/atv-enroll.
If you want to discuss ATV insurance, and what we can do to help you, please contact Alan Galvez Insurance at (937) 592-4871 or visit our Recreational Vehicle insurance page for further information and to request a quote.