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ATV Safety for All

Randy DeVaul

Posted on August 10, 2019 09:05

1 user

Significant injuries and deaths occur when operating an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) recklessly. Sometimes it is just because we place children in harm's way on equipment that is too much for them to handle. The US Consumer Protection Agency and state agencies give insights on safe ATV operation.

This article addresses additional safety factors to consider so operators remain safe when operating a ATV. A person's age makes a significant difference.

Children under 16 years old lack the developmental skills to safely drive adult ATVs.
Children under 6 should never be on an ATV – either as a driver or passenger. Young children lack the physical ability and mental skills to safely maneuver a motorized vehicle with multiple speeds and controls.

Most ATVs are equipped with a label detailing the manufacturer’s recommended age for that model. The recommended ages for Y-6 models (under 70 cc engines) are 6 to 11; the recommended ages for the Y-12 models (70 to 90 cc engines) are 12 to 15.

By age 6, some children can drive youth ATVs with simple controls at very low speeds. A Y-6 ATV is designed to go up to 15 miles per hour but can be limited to 10 miles per hour.

When 12 to 13, many children can drive youth ATVs at speeds under 25 mph. These children generally lack the cognitive skills to control adult ATVs under a wide range of conditions. A Y-12 ATV is designed to go up to 30 mph; however, Y-12 ATVs can limit the speed to 15 mph.

ATVs are designed for interactive riding. This means the driver’s body movement plays an integral part of the handling. The driver must be able to shift weight freely in all directions. If passengers get in the way or shift their weight improperly, the driver may lose control of the ATV. Additionally, most ATVs are not equipped with handholds or footrests for passengers.

Single rider ATVs display a warning label to not carry passengers. New “2-Up” ATVs on the market are specifically designed to carry a driver with a single passenger. According to manufacturers, these ATVs should never be used to carry children under 12 or to carry more than one passenger.

ATVs should NEVER be driven while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Each state will have its own laws and requirements regarding ATV operation. Check and follow your state's requirements. Here is a brief summary of New York State laws concerning ATVs:

No passengers are allowed on the ATV unless it is designed to carry more than one person.
All riders (operator and passengers) must wear a helmet at all times.
All ATVs must be registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles, renewing registration once every year.
ATV use on highways is prohibited, except to cross these roads.
No one under 10 may ride or operate an ATV.
Operators between 10 and 15 may ride an ATV if they are on their parent’s land and supervised by a parent, or on their parent’s land and in possession of a safety training certificate.
No ATV shall be operated without a lighted headlight and taillight from ½ hour after sunset to ½ hour before sunrise.
The local County Sheriff is the regulating or enforcing agency.

Randy DeVaul

Posted on August 10, 2019 09:05

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Source: Post-Gazette
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State police said a 12-year-old boy killed in an all-terrain vehicle crash was riding alone without a helmet or other safety...

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