Zipping around on an all-terrain vehicle looks like fun.
However, increasingly bigger and faster ATV's have been introduced over the years, making them more and more dangerous, especially for children. In fact, as larger and faster ATVs have been introduced, ATV-related deaths and injuries have increased substantially in every age group. From 1997 to 2001, injury rates increased 23 percent for children ages 6 to 12 and 233 percent for children younger than 6.
Sadly, a 14-year-old girl died on the afternoon of May 23, 2011, from injuries suffered in an all-terrain vehicle accident in a wooded area off Rochambeau Drive in Williamsburg, Virginia (VA). The girl and another person were riding ATVs along a trail in the woods when they were separated. When the other rider found the girl, she had apparently been thrown from the ATV. She was not wearing a helmet. As a mom and Virginia personal injury attorney, I can sympathize with the parents of this young girl and, like them, would want answers.
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This was a terrible ATV accident. If the other rider is an adult, he or she may be facing charges. First of all ATV's are usually designed to carry one rider. Second, helmets should always be worn for adults and children, these vehicles weigh between 400 and 600 pounds and can travel at speeds well above 70 mph.
The accident took place on trails in Williamsburg, Virginia (VA) that are not open to the public with No Trespassing signs marking the area. Police have received no recent reports of trespassing or ATV riders in the area
As Virginia and Carolina personal injury lawyers handling vehicle accidents on a regular basis, we know Virginia law heavily regulates the use of the vehicles. Among the laws are that an ATV should not be operated unless the driver is wearing a protective helmet and that the vehicles should not be operated above 25 mph.
The law also specifies that children ages 12-16 may only operate vehicles powered by engines of no more than 90 cubic centimeters displacement. Children younger than 12 may only drive ATVs with engines of no more than 70 cubic centimeters displacement. Violations of the law carry a civil penalty of a fine of up to $500.