1 UNDERAGE RIDERS Of all children in ATV accidents, 95 percent were riding adult-size vehicles. Children younger than 16 do not have the strength, size, motor skills, or coordination to drive the larger vehicles.
2 RIDING DOUBLE ON VEHICLES RATED FOR ONE PERSON Most ATVs are not designed for dual riders. Riding double on a single-use machine changes its balance and reduces driver control.
3 NOT WEARING SAFETY EQUIPMENT Almost 80 percent of ATV accident patients treated at St. John's Emergency Trauma Center in Spring-field, Missouri, were not wearing helmets at the time of the accident; almost half of those sustained head injuries. A recent study by St. John's showed that helmets could reduce the risk of fatal head injuries by 42 percent and of nonfatal head injuries by 64 percent. Over-the-ankle leather boots, long-sleeve shirts, and gloves should also be worn.
4 RIDING TOO FAST OR CARELESSLY As I learned, this can cause an ATV to tip or flip over, throwing you off of the vehicle or pinning you underneath it. Riders who put their feet to the outside of the footboards, in the mistaken belief that doing so will improve balance, could get a foot caught on an obstruction or even between the footboard and the rear tire. Driving with one hand is another mistake. If you hit an obstacle, the handlebars can easily snap away, causing you to lose control.
5 RIDING ON HARD SURFACES ATV tires and handling characteristics are designed for offroad travel. Tires can catch on hard surfaces, causing the ATV to flip over.