Boundless trails and wilderness make riding all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) a popular choice for Ontario’s outdoor enthusiasts. While they are mainly used for recreational purposes, the results of an ATV accident are just as serious as an automobile.
In Ontario, approximately 15 people a day are admitted to hospital emergency rooms for injuries resulting from an ATV crash.
Types of injuries sustained in an ATV accident may range from cuts and bruises to serious injuries including:
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Neck injuries
- Face injuries
- Back injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
Despite helmets being mandatory in Ontario for anyone riding an ATV and are critical in reducing the risk of head and brain injuries, they’re still not being worn all the time.
According to a Safe Kids Canada study released in 2010, 25% of ATV deaths occur in kids 15 years of age or younger.
As reported in a CTV News article, in July 2015, a 9-year-old child was in critical condition after an ATV crash on a private property near Aylmer, Ont. A 6-year-old child driving an ATV lost control after accidentally pressing the throttle while negotiating a curve collided with two trees. The remaining children on board, along with the driver included a 2-year-old, 4 year-old and another 9-year-old, who were fortunately uninjured in the crash. However, no one was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.
However, even helmets cannot prevent death when reckless driving of an off-road vehicle results in a devastating crash.
Have a look at these simple tips from the Canada Safety Council that can help you ride safely:
- Get trained: A few hours in a Canada Safety Council ATV course could save your life. These courses teach drivers how to handle and properly manoeuvre an ATV. Drivers who understand and appreciate how to properly drive an ATV are less likely to suffer from serious injuries.
- Suit up: Always wear a helmet, eye protection, long pants, long sleeves, gloves and non-skid shoes for every ride.
- Ride the right size: Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. Adult-sized ATVs are not appropriate for children under 16.
- Ride by day: Even on familiar terrain, low light and reduced visibility will increase the chances of an accident.
- Avoid paved roadways: ATVs are to be driven off-road, and they can be tricky to manoeuvre on pavement, making accidents more likely.
- Never take passengers: Depending on the ATV only one person should use the vehicle. If the ATV can accommodate a passenger, it’s important that the driver can easily shift their position and weight to adapt to the off road driving conditions.
- Always drive sober: Just like driving a car, driving an ATV requires a driver's full attention. Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol can delay a driver's reaction time and lead to serious injuries.
In Ontario, ATV’s are under the jurisdiction of the Off Road Vehicles Act and the Highway Traffic Act. It’s important to make yourself familiar with the laws surrounding the operation of your particular vehicle.
If you or a loved one has been a victim of an ATV accident, our lawyers at Harris Law are here to help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us for a free, one-hour consultation.