All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are gaining popularity in Maine, and so are the number of injuries and deaths caused by ATV accidents in Portland, Bangor and elsewhere in the state.
Riding an ATV can be a fun way to spend the afternoon with friends, but Maine child injury lawyers want to remind riders that these machines are not toys. An accident involving an ATV can often lead to broken bones, internal injuries, head trauma or spinal cord injuries, which can bring a multitude of medical expenses.
The Portland Press Herald reports that not only are ATVs dangerous for children, but adults are just as susceptible to Maine ATV accidents. A 50-year-old man died recently from injuries sustained on an ATV while riding with friends on Folly Road. He lost control of the ATV while trying to pass the other vehicles.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports from 1982 through 2009, there were ATV-related 10,281 fatalities nationwide. In 2009, 376 people died in an ATV-related accident in the United States. From 1982 through 2006, Maine reported a total of 107 deaths from an ATV-related accident. From 2007 to 2009, 17 people were killed in ATV accidents in Maine. Nationwide, almost 2,700 deaths of children 15 and under occurred on ATVs from 1982 through 2009. A total of 43 percent of child deaths on ATVs are children 11 and under.
In 2009, there were approximately 132,000 injuries nationwide that needed medical treatment at a hospital emergency room from ATV-related accidents. Of these, 25 percent, or 32,400 were children younger than 16.
Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife offers these ATV safety tips to riders of all ages:
-Small children should always be supervised and never operate an ATV of 70-90 CCs or higher (appropriate to their age and size).
-Experience with riding should determine the difficulty of the trail in terms of terrain.
-Know the machine you are riding by familiarizing yourself with the brake system, type of starter, clutch, reverse gear, hand grips or what wheel-drive it is (2 or 4).
-Gloves, eye wear, footwear and helmets are all important aspects of clothing and equipment.
-Check your vehicle before you ride for air pressure, brakes, tightened axles, loose cables and lights. Routine maintenance can reduce the risk of injuries due to vehicle malfunction.
-Keep your feet on the footrest to prevent injury.
-Shift to a lower gear and release the throttle to help with braking.
-Keep your momentum moving forward when riding up a hill.
-Never drive under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
-Know the law and take a safety course before you ride for the first time.
Click here to view procedures for ATV registration, laws and rules for riding, and safety course information offered in Maine.
If you or someone you know has been injured in an ATV accident in Bangor or Portland, contact the personal injury lawyers at Peter Thompson & Associates for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights at 1-800-804-2004.
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Motorcycle Accidents in Bangor a Spring and Summer Risk, Maine Injury Lawyer Blog, May 19, 2011