Thanks to its beautiful countryside and landscapes, Pennsylvania is full of ATV friendly parks and trails. ATV riding is a popular activity in Pennsylvania and it is also a dangerous activity. ATV accidents that cause serious injuries and fatalities are very common, especially with inexperienced riders or riders who are not familiar with the property and terrain. ATV injuries can be very costly, financially and physically, but with safety training and practices, accidents can sometimes be avoided.
All-Terrain Vehicle Safety
It has been shown over and over again that ATVs are not safe, especially when not operated with extreme caution or when the operator is inexperienced.
The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources provides information related to ATV safety courses available for both youth and mature riders. Some safety tips recommended by the Department include the following:
- Where a helmet, eye protection, and protective clothing.
- Do not carry passengers on ATVs.
- Make sure young and inexperienced riders are properly trained and supervised.
- Never ride alone.
- Do not ride too closely to another ATV.
- Stay on trails designated for ATVs.
- Ride at safe and appropriate speeds.
- Make sure your ATV is properly maintained and in good working order.
There are a number of causes of ATV accidents and most of them are related to unsafe driving and unsafe conditions. Unsafe riding practices may include things like allowing an inexperienced rider to ride unsupervised or two passengers riding on an ATV that is only meant for one rider at a time. Accidents commonly occur when an ATV is speeding, exercising unsafe maneuvers, or unsafe riding conditions. Unsafe riding conditions include riding on land that is not suitable for ATV use and may pose significant dangers to ATVs. Other unsafe conditions may include high ATV traffic areas and property that is not designated for ATV riding such as a public road.
ATV accident liability can be complicated. There are different people that could be liable for an ATV accident and sorting through cause and liability issues can be overwhelming for families who have experienced a devastating ATV accident. Parties that may be liable for ATV accidents include:
- The ATV owner
- A person who negligently allowed a child in his or her care to ride an ATV
- The ATV insurance company
- The land owner or person responsible for maintaining the property where the accident occurred
- The manufacturer of a defective ATV
- An ATV/property owner who should have known that child trespassers could be attracted to the ATV yet the owner failed to take any measures to secure the vehicle and protect child trespassers.
- Driver of another ATV who caused the accident
- A driver whose negligent conduct caused injury to his or her passenger.