With the popularity of multiple types of ATV's, often operated by teenagers and minors, come any increasingly large number of personal injuries, and accidental or wrongful deaths. As Virginia/Carolina personal injury lawyers handling vehicle accidents on a regular basis, we know that there are more safety measures that the manufacturers such as Suzuki, Yamaha, Honda, and others can take to prevent these rollover accidents. First of all, any three wheel ATV is a dangerous ATV.
According to Concerned Families for ATV Safety, 40,000 minors and teenagers are seriously injured or killed in ATV rollover accidents in the US.
One newspaper editorial sums up the issue with the title: "Too Young to Die, too Young to Ride?" Arguing that teenagers and minors do not have the decision-making of adults in their operation of ATV’s.
Besides state laws restricting the age at which an ATV can be operated, much of the safety must come from the manufacturers.
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Here is some relevant data from the Concerned Families for ATV Safety website:
- The National Sporting Goods Association estimates that 14.2 million children ages 7 to 17 ride bicycles in the United States, while the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says there are about 2.2 million ATV riders under the age of 16. Even though roughly seven times as many children ride bikes:
- The hospitalization rate for children under 16 in ATV accidents increased 67% over from 2000 to 2004, while the hospitalization rate for children in bicycle accidents decreased 12%.
- Similarly, the number of children sent to the hospital because of an ATV accident increased 70% during this same time period, while the number of children sent to the hospital because of a bicycle accident went down 12%.
- The medical costs associated with child ATV accidents increased 196% over the five year period to $71 million in 2004, while the medical costs for child bicycle accidents went up 32% to $92 million in 2004.
- The average cost of a child being sent to the hospital from an ATV accident is 44% higher than for bicycles - $19,706 in 2004 for ATVs compared to $13,713 for bicycles.
Which Is More dangerous: A Bicycle or an ATV?
There really is no comparison. To again cite the Concerned Families for ATV Safety website:
- From 2000-2004, an average of 171 children under 16 died annually in ATV crashes compared to 157 from bicycle crashes. During this 5-year period:
- The number of deaths and death rate for child ATV riders increased 24%, while the number of child bicycle deaths declined 18% and the death rate decreased 17% - see Figure A and methodology.
- Meanwhile, the total economic costs related to the youthful ATV deaths increased 45% over the 5-year period (from $673 million to $973 million) while costs decreased 5% for the young bicycle riders ($776 million to $738 million) – see Figure E and methodology.
- Medical costs related to child ATV deaths increased nearly 70% while medical costs related to child bicycle deaths decreased 20% - see Figure D and methodology.
- Quality of life costs related to child ATV deaths increased by 44% while quality of life costs related to child bicycle deaths decreased by 4% - see Figure B and methodology.
- Costs due to work loss from child ATV deaths increased by 46% while work loss costs related to child bicycle deaths decreased by approximately 6% - see Figure C and methodology.
The Yamaha Rhino is one of the most unsafe ATV’s per one of my Injuryboard law blog colleague’s article:
The height of the Rhino combined with its narrow wheel base creates a high center of gravity, making the ATV prone to rollover accidents. Even when used at minimum speeds, the Rhino's disproportionate design makes it a hazardous vehicle to operate or ride in. Unlike other ATVs, the Rhino rolls over during turns even at low speeds on flat surfaces because it is top heavy, narrow, and the tires are too small.
Also, the Rhino was subject of a recall in Spring, 2008. The concerned family website also has many sad and tragic stories of parents who have lost their beloved teenage children forever due to death on an ATV, and other stories catalog minors suffering from coma and requiring care and medical attention for the rest of their lives. Horrible but true.