ATVs in KY: A Dangerous Combination

Pikeville Injury Attorney

“Quads” or All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) are a part of life here in Pike County and throughout the Bluegrass State. Kids and adults alike are enthusiasts who really enjoy the sport of ATV riding or prefer these vehicles for off-road access. However, it’s important to remember that ATVs are powerful and potentially dangerous vehicles. In neighboring Indiana, the number of fatalities and injury crashes involving minors prompted passage of a new law that requires them to wear helmets when riding ATVs. Kentucky ranks in the top 5 for ATV-accident related deaths in all U.S. states and a quarter of those deaths are children, even though helmets for youth have been required for years and minors are restricted by law to machines with smaller engine sizes.

Between 1982 and 2012, approximately 12,650 people died in ATV crashes and 580 of those lives were lost in Kentucky. An additional 72 Kentucky deaths were associated with ATVs from 2013 to 2015, and as reports continue to be collected, that number continues to rise. According to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Office of Highway Safety, the top Kentucky counties in ATV deaths are Pike, Breathitt, Floyd, Harlan, Letcher, Clay, Leslie, Pulaski, Bell, Laurel, Perry, Trigg, and Whitley.

Thousands of people are admitted to the emergency room every month for injuries attributed to ATV riding. Even when the riders survive, many suffer severe internal injuries, paralysis, and brain trauma. Each year, it gets more and more tragic, and surprisingly enough, we’re not talking about just off-roading. More than one-third of deaths occur on surfaced roads, despite ATVs being equipped with low-pressure tires that are not designed to handle pavement (as well as the fact that it’s illegal).

One issue is that ATV technology keeps getting more impressive. ATVs started out as 7-horsepower, 89 cc engines that weighed in around 180 lbs. As the engines get faster and more powerful, so does the potential for accidental injury or death. Some quads now have more than 50-horsepower, 600 cc engines and can reach speeds of more than 100 miles per hour.

If you or your children are riding your ATVs this summer, consider these safety tips:

  • Never assume others can see you or will avoid you.
  • Never allow more riders than the machine was designed to accommodate.
  • Supervise drivers younger than 16 and don’t allow them to operate or ride on adult-sized ATVs.
  • Never ride under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Stay off the paved roads, and be extra careful if you must cross one.
  • Ride at a safe speed.
  • Use common sense when approaching steep hills in order to avoid rollovers.
  • Take an ATV safety course.
  • Wear a helmet and eye protection.
  • Don’t drive in bad weather or insufficient light.
  • Remember that riding ATVs properly requires the operator to shift their body weight, particularly when turning, negotiating hills, and crossing obstacles.

If you have been injured in an ATV accident or you have any questions about this topic, you can find out more by discussing it with one of the personal injury attorneys at the Johnson Law Firm. We have years of experience helping people, and we can help you. Our knowledgeable legal team will work closely with you every step of the way and will fight hard to get you the compensation you deserve. Based in Pikeville, KY, we proudly serve communities throughout the Bluegrass State. Contact us today by filling out this evaluation form or calling us at 1-606-433-0682.

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