Quads, four-wheelers, ATVs - no matter what you call them, are growing in popularity with teens and young adults. Riding an ATV is a great experience that can be enjoyed by the entire family. However, when basic rules are not followed a seemingly innocent ATV ride can result in long term health effects and even death. A research article recently published in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons found that ATV related injuries led to more than 2 million emergency room visits from 2000 to 2015. It should come as no surprise that ATV accidents can lead to traumatic brain injuries, skull fractures, concussions, spinal fractures, broken bones and host of other medical issues. Operator inexperience, intoxication, and failing to wear a helmet all increase injury risks. An alarming statistic that this research revealed is that 22% of the total number of ATV related deaths involved children under the age of 16. From January 1, 2011, through September 30, 2018, no less than eighteen traffic fatalities have occurred within the City of LaGrange with 39% of these collisions involved either a bicycle, motorcycle, dirt bike, or scooter. Just recently a fatality involving an ATV was reported in eastern Troup County.
The ATV Safety Institute’s Eight Golden Rules are:
1. Always wear a Department of Transportation compliant helmet, goggles, long sleeves, long pants, over-the-ankle boots and gloves;
2. Never ride on paved roads except to cross when done so safely and as permitted by law;
3. Never ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
4. Never carry a passenger on a single-rider ATV;
5. Ride only an age appropriate ATV;
6. Because ATV’s are not toys, supervise all riders under the age of 16;
7. Ride only on designated trails and at a safe speed;
8. Take a hands-on ATV course and a free on-line safety course before you start to ride.