New Study Raises Questions about ATV Ridership Guidelines

September 18, 2008

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A recent study done at the University of Kentucky claims that age requirements may not be enoug to determine a rider’s ability to safely control an ATV. The study notes that many riders who meet age guidelines do not have the physical strength to safely operate an all terrain vehicle.

The study notes these discrepanices between age and size, pointing out that matching engine sizes to ages is not adequate to insure that riders are capable. The study also points out that 100 children died in ATV-related crashes last year, and that 90% of ATV child fatalities occurred when the vehicles were driven by riders who were too young for the size of the engine.

ATVs have continued to grow in popularity, and, as accidents increase in frequency, many state and local governments have passed increasingly restrictive laws that limit where ATVs can be driven and who can ride them. Minnessota recently passed legislation prohibiting motor vehicles from using state trails during hunting season for safety reasons, for example. While extremely fun to operate under safe conditions, ATVs are not toys and must be ridden responsibly. Riders who do not do so have greatly contributed to the growing acrimony between riders and other groups who use the outdoors for recreation. It is probably in the best interests of ATV groups to propose their own legislation that regulates ATV use, as there appears to be a growing sentiment that these machines are not given enough attention by state and local laws. Riders, even in states with powerful ATV lobbies like Minnesota, could find themselves left out in the cold in the debate if they’re not careful.

Article as reported by Jeffrey McMurray of the Pocono Record.

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