Between Florida’s good weather and constant stream of vacationers, there are lots of people riding all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) throughout the state. These vehicles provide a fun and exciting activity for children and adults alike and can be ridden on many types of terrain.
The high rate of ATV use in Florida, however, is accompanied by a high rate of injury and ATV-related deaths. In fact, at least 529 people were killed in Florida ATV accidents between 1982 and 2013, making Florida the state with the sixth most fatalities of this type during that period.
These vehicles are especially likely to cause injury due to their speed and their size. Adult models can weigh over 600 pounds and reach speeds of 65 miles per hour or higher. Injuries from ATV use can affect any part of the body, but the head, neck, arms and hands are the most likely to be injured in a crash or accident.
For these reasons, the state of Florida has enacted a variety of laws to keep riders safe. ATVs cannot be used on paved roads in Florida, and all riders under 16 years of age must wear eye protection and a helmet at all times.
In addition to following the law and wearing a helmet, there are other ways to keep safe while riding an ATV:
- Avoid paved surfaces.
- Never let a passenger hang on to you.
- Never carry more passengers than the vehicle was designed for.
- Make sure kids use appropriately sized vehicles.
- Stay covered in protective gear.
- Never drink and drive.
One of the most important steps for staying safe is to take a safety training course. Hands-on courses are offered throughout Florida and can teach both adults and children about local laws, risk management, environment awareness, and riding techniques.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to a negligent ATV rider or negligent supervision, contact the personal injury attorneys at the Bradenton firm of Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, Murphy & Walsh to learn your rights.