Jessamine County Coroner

ATV Safety

As Fall approaches, there will be an increased enthusiasm for hitting the trails with friends on their ATV’s.  Sadly, there will be many folks of all ages who will ride outside the envelope, or in other words, push the edge of safety with their vehicles.  There are as many uses for ATVs as there are various types, styles and sizes. Hopefully, prior to purchasing an ATV, the adult rider or parent of a young rider will determine the best size and type based on the intended use, and match the rider to the vehicle.  The next most important thing should be concerns with safety. Every qualified ATV dealer should offer rider training, and if they don’t, they should be able to guide the buyer to someone who does.  Don’t put off getting the training, because many folks feel that after riding for a few hours, they are competent and don’t need any training or help. Knowing how and where to ride as well as wearing approved safety clothing and a helmet may prevent many types of serious injuries or death.  Young people riding an ATV that is too big or powerful for them to handle is a major problem.  Some families may only have one ATV, and want to allow everyone the opportunity to ride, even though they may be incapable of handling the machine.  Think of it this way. Would you let your ten year old child operate a chainsaw or farm tractor on their own?  When riding, only use the ATV for its intended purpose and remember that it is a real vehicle, not a toy!  Research indicates fatalities and injuries involving All Terrain Vehicles are mostly due to driver misuse and inappropriate rider behavior.  According to the Consumer Product safety Commission, Kentucky is fourth in the nation with 85 ATV deaths reported from 2007 to 2009.  The top three states are West Virginia (116), California (93) and Florida (86).  So far this year, as your coroner, I have not yet been called to the scene of a fatal ATV accident.  Let’s keep it that way.  Following these safety tips just may keep you or your kids alive and well: Receive proper training on driving an ATV; Wear an approved helmet and protective clothing; Don’t operate on paved roads and unfamiliar terrain; Read the owner’s manual; Never carry a passenger on a single-rider ATV; Don’t drive in adverse weather, hazardous terrain, or insufficient light; Don’t take unnecessary risks or perform stunts, drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs or at excessive speeds; Children should never ride or be a passenger on an adult ATV, and should be supervised at all times.  Kentucky does have ATV laws as follows: All riders on public property must wear a helmet (not engaged in agriculture or business).  Under 12 may not operate an ATV over 70cc.  Under 16 may not operate an ATV over 90cc.  Under 16 may not operate an ATV without parental permission.  ATV use on public roads or highways is prohibited except to cross.

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