Prioritize safety while enjoying ATV activities
Riding all-terrain vehicles is a recreational pastime, and ATVS are useful for landowners. But with a documented uptick in accidents, families are urged to take precautions as the weather becomes more favorable for outdoor activities.
A recent report from Marshfield Clinic Research Institute revealed ATV injuries among children are on the rise, and are likely linked to the pandemic, as more children have been at home.
“More home time means more opportunities to use ATVs, and unfortunately that means more opportunities for accidents,” said Dana Fisher, chairman of the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Farm Safety Advisory Committee.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, approximately 40,000 children under 16 are treated in emergency rooms for ATV-related injuries each year. Most injuries are sustained when riders are thrown off an ATV, and in crashes or rollovers.
ATV-related deaths involving children under 16 accounted for more than 1 in 5 of the 15,000 ATV-related deaths in the U.S. between 1982 and 2017, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
VFBF’s safety committee shared some tips to prepare for riding ATVs:
- Ensure an ATV that will be used by a child is sized correctly for the child. Children should be able to rest their feet on the footrests and easily reach the handlebars.
- Wear properly fitting safety gear, especially U.S. Department of Transportation-compliant helmets that fit a child’s head.
- Enroll children in an ATV safety class through your local ATV dealer or Virginia Cooperative Extension agent. Take a free online course at ATVsafety.org.
- Parents should supervise children, ensuring they know how to operate an ATV safely, and demonstrate safe riding themselves.
- Do not carry passengers.
- Stay off public roads; only ride on designated trails at a safe speed.
- Never ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs.