ATVs were originally created and marketed with three wheels. However, now ATVs use four low-pressure tires to handle rough, rocky, muddy, and a variety of other terrains. These vehicles are similar to motorcycles in many ways, and while people who have ridden on one might tell you that an ATV is safer than a motorcycle because of the stability that driving on four wheels provide, the facts and figures don’t lie. Riding on an ATV can be dangerous and leads to many injuries every year.
What Vehicles Are Considered ATVs in Arkansas?
You may see many different types of vehicles on the road or trails. However, not all of these vehicles constitute an all-terrain vehicle. In fact, the Arkansas legislature has chosen to exclude certain vehicles from the definition of an all terrain vehicle. Among those vehicles that are excluded from the definition of an all terrain vehicle are golf carts, riding lawnmowers, and lawn or garden tractors. ATV’s are generally four-wheel vehicles that are designed to be driven, as their name states, on all terrains and surfaces. ATV’s generally have engines that range in size from 90 cc to well over 700 cc which means that these vehicles can be very powerful and achieve considerable speeds.
Common ATV Injuries
ATV riders state that they enjoy riding these vehicles because of the sense of freedom that they receive from riding. Similar to motorcycle riders, an ATV rider is exposed on all sides and therefore is susceptible to more serious injuries. In addition, children are more likely to be injured in an ATV accident, in 2011, 29,000 of the ER trips were for children who were under the age of 16, including 57 reported deaths from four-wheeler accidents.
Some of the more common injuries that were reported include:
- Contusions/ abrasions
- Head or neck injuries
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- Leg injuries
There are many factors that can contribute to a rider sustaining any one of these injuries including not using a helmet, poor judgment and operating one of these vehicles on a public street or highway. While it may seem that ATV accidents are somewhat rare. Take for example that on May 17, 2014, there were two separate ATV accidents that resulted in deaths. In the first case, an 89-year-old gentleman was killed when he backed his four-wheeler out of a driveway and was struck by a Ford Explorer. In the second case, a 31-year-old male was driving his ATV on Arkansas route 329 when his ATV flipped over.
Why Do ATV Accidents Happen?
ATV accidents often happen because a person is inexperienced or not able to handle the size and power of an ATV. Some of the factors associated with ATV-related injuries for youth under 16 years.
- Not using a helmet – when you are riding any sort of vehicle where you are exposed on all sides such as an ATV you should always wear a helmet.
- Poor judgment and risk-taking behaviors – Many people, particularly boys, get on an ATV and then engage in risky behaviors in an attempt to impress their friends or other people that are around them.
- Operating an ATV larger than that recommended for their size and age – The Arkansas Legislature has declared that children under the age of 12 should not operate an ATV without adult supervision, however even when there is adult supervision the size of the vehicle can pose a problem.
- Lack of physical size, strength, and coordination to operate an ATV – Driving an ATV is a skill, and there are courses that a person can take to learn the skills necessary to properly drive an ATV. In addition, even if a person has been trained how to ride one of these devices, they may still lack the physical strength to operate these vehicles effectively.
- Operating on public roads, streets, and highways – It is illegal for a person to operate an ATV on a public road, street or highway in Arkansas save for a few exceptions pertaining to farm workers who may be crossing a road to get to another field. However, those who do operate their ATV’s on public roads, highways, and streets are often in accidents, which can result in severe injuries.
- Riding with a passenger – riding with a passenger changes how vehicle drives, turns and even stops. In addition, many ATV’s are not designed for multiple people to be on them at the same time.
There are many other reasons that a person may be involved in an accident with an ATV. You should always be cautious when you are driving an ATV and avoid driving on a public street.
Contact an Experienced Sebastian County ATV Accident Attorney
To speak with an experienced Fayetteville personal injury attorney, call Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law at (479) 316-0438, or contact us online.