For many of us, summertime in upstate New York means enjoying the great outdoors. When the weather is beautiful, it almost seems like a crime to stay inside. Many people choose to go camping, boating, hiking, fishing, and riding around on ATVs. Well, as fun as ATVs may be, it’s important to remember that they are not toys. Just because they may not be subject to strict regulations and you don’t need a driver’s license to drive one in New York State, it doesn’t mean you don’t need to exercise caution.
Every year, there are over 350,000 ATV accidents across the country; 100,000 of them involve children under the age of 18. These accidents include everything from head injuries to spinal injuries to all types of broken bones. Sadly, there are hundreds of ATV-related deaths each year as well. These accidents occur because ATVs are fast vehicles with a high center of gravity that can drive over uneven ground: they are notorious for flipping and ejecting passengers.
“The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons would love to see national regulations for ATVs, since they are indeed motor vehicles like cars, motorcycles, and boats. They also call for the need for licenses and ATV safety courses. They also recommend that children under the age of 12 should not be allowed to drive ATVs, and children between the ages of 12 and 16 should be under adult supervision. ATVs aren’t just adult-sized Power Wheels; they’re motor vehicles made to be driven by adults! Here are 6 rules that will increase your safety while riding:
- Anyone driving an ATV should wear appropriate protective gear, like helmets, gloves, and boots.
- Driving should occur during daylight hours.
- ATVs should not be driven on paved or public roads.
- Be sure to read the owner’s manual.
- Always make sure the ATV is in proper working condition.
- Never let a second person ride on the back of a single-person ATV, because they could be thrown off of the vehicle at higher speeds or over uneven ground.”
Just use common sense and exercise appropriate caution when driving ATVs. They can be exhilarating fun, as long as no harm is done.