As summer approaches, more and more people are taking to trails throughout West Virginia to enjoy their all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). While ATV are a source of enjoyment for many throughout the Mountain State, unauthorized and unsafe use of ATVs can lead to serious injury or death.
If you have been injured in an accident that was caused by the negligence or recklessness of an ATV rider, The Masters Law Firm is here to help. Call our office today at 304-371-7894 or message us online to schedule a free consultation and case assessment with one of our attorneys.
ATV safety concerns
The state legislature has implemented laws regarding ATV use in West Virginia. If you are going to be riding an ATV this spring and summer, be sure to know the laws and regulations regarding ATV usage. And be aware of other ATVs as well as larger vehicles that you may encounter when you are out riding.
This is especially true for West Virginia’s teenage drivers. No one may operate an ATV with a passenger under the age of eighteen, unless the operator has at a minimum a level two intermediate driver’s license or its equivalent or is eighteen years of age or older. Also, an ATV is meant to operate at speeds of 25 mph or less.
The American Association of Pediatrics recommends that the US. Consumer Product Safety Commission “reject the manufacture of a transitional, ‘youth model’ ATV for 14- to 16-year-olds that is capable of traveling at speeds up to 38 miles per hour.”
James Perrin, president of the AAP, went a bit further, saying, “Children are not developmentally capable of operating these heavy, complex machines. The American Academy of Pediatrics warns all parents that no child under the age of 16 should drive or ride an ATV.”
Important safety guidelines for ATV riding in West Virginia
- Wear the proper gear: Before you go out on the trail, make sure you put on your helmet, goggles, boots, and gloves. ATVs have a high center of gravity and they can flip over a lot easier than most people think. Dress properly, buckle up, and be prepared.
- Inspect your ATV before riding: It is always a good idea to look your ATV over before you go out riding. Check the tires to make sure they have proper pressure and that they are not dangerously worn. Look at all of the wires and cables to make sure they are connected and inspect the chain for links that may be worn down.
- Do not ride alone: With an activity like ATV riding, it is always better to have someone riding with you in case anything goes wrong. For example, if you were to crash your ATV, it could become a life-threatening situation, and you will want someone there with you to call for help.
- Follow the ATV/UTV capacity limits: Although it is recommended to ride in groups rather than alone, this does not mean having everyone riding on the same ATV. ATVs are smaller and usually equipped for only one rider. A utility task vehicle (UTV) is bigger and can accommodate two riders. Do not go over these limits by piggybacking or side riding – these are very dangerous practices that can get someone hurt.
- Stay sober on the trails: It is no secret that drinking and driving is a deadly combination. The same holds true for drinking and ATV riding. Hold off on the adult beverages until after the riding is over.
- Stay in designated riding areas: Be sure to ride only on designated trails and other riding areas. Riding on the regular roads is not good for the all-terrain vehicle, but beyond that, it is not safe for you to drive alongside full-sized vehicles.
- Be aware of what’s in front of you: When you are riding, keep your eyes in front of you as much as possible. This is especially true when you are coming up to a road crossing where you might encounter cars and other large vehicles, and when you are riding in poor weather conditions and/or going through rough terrain. When you encounter these conditions, avoid “look backs” to see what your buddy is doing as this can result in unforeseen collisions.
- Avoid unnecessary risks: One of the primary reasons that riders get hurt is because they try to show off by doing wheelies and similar types of stunts. Don’t be one of those that takes foolish risks just to look good or see what the ATV can do, you will end up regretting it.
Injured in an ATV accident in West Virginia? Contact an experienced personal injury firm.
The Masters Law Firm of Charleston West Virginia wants you to stay safe on ATVs and other 4-wheelers this spring and summer. But we also recognize that even if you follow all of the safety guidelines and best practices, you cannot control the actions of others. If you have been injured in an accident that was caused by someone else, we are ready to go to work for you. To set up your free consultation, call us today at 1-800-342-3106 or send us an online message.