Spring is in the air in Kentucky, and with it comes the upswing of outdoor activities that have been on hold since fall. Children are swinging and sliding, people are once again tending to their lawns, and riders are gassing up their ATVs for the season. Unfortunately, with the thrill and freedom of ATV riding comes the risk of serious injury or death.
On February 26, 2012, a woman was killed in an ATV accident in Meade County Kentucky. She was riding on an ATV that was being driven by her fiancé. They were riding in circles when her fiancé lost control of the ATV and it flipped. They both fell to the ground and the 26-year-old woman was killed. The driver admitted to consuming alcohol before causing the ATV accident. He was allowed to attend the victim's funeral, but then was arrested by police. He has been charged with improper control and driving under the influence, and more charges may be added.
The ATV Safety Institute provides the following guidelines to help riders operate ATVs safely:
- Always wear a DOT-compliant helmet, goggles, long sleeves, long pants, over-the-ankle boots, and gloves.
- Never ride on paved roads except to cross when done safely and permitted by law - another vehicle could hit you. ATVs are designed to be operated off-highway.
- Never ride under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
- Never carry a passenger on a single-rider ATV, and no more than one passenger on an ATV specifically designed for two people.
- Ride an ATV that's right for your age.
- Supervise riders younger than 16; ATVs are not toys.
- Ride only on designated trails and at a safe speed.
- Take a hands-on ATV RiderCourseSM and the free online E-Course. Visit ATVsafety.org or call 800.887.2887.
In the case above, at least three of these guidelines were not followed. The driver had been drinking alcohol, neither rider was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, and they were riding on an unfinished part of a highway instead of a designated ATV trail. All of these factors likely contributed to the victim's death.