Beginning January 1, anyone younger than age 16 is only allowed to operate an all-terrain vehicle while under adult supervision. All ATV operators, regardless of age, must complete an Oregon-approved safety training course. Young ATV operators must also meet rider-fit guidelines, as well as minimum physical size requirements involving leg length, brake reach, handle bars, and grip reach.
The new rules come after an increase in the number of young ATV riders that are injured in accidents. According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System-All Injury Program, from 2001 to 2003:
• 108,724 ATV riders younger than 15 required medical attention at a hospital for nonfatal injuries.
• Male ATV riders, 11 – 15, made up 52% of these visitors.
• Common nonfatal ATV injuries include facial injuries, foot injuries, leg injuries, and fractures.
At least 107 young riders died in ATV accidents in 2007. Last year, the Consumer Product Safety Administration introduced the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, which requires ATV manufacturers to comply with ATV standards and develop an ATV Action Plan regarding training, safety, ATV manuals, hang tags, labels, and other requirements.
While there are steps that consumers can take to protect young riders from getting hurt when riding ATV’s, manufacturers must also take steps to prevent injury accidents by making sure that their products are free from defects or flaws that can lead to injury accidents. They must also make sure that they warn users of the potential hazards that coming with riding an ATV. The Oregon Trauma Registry says some 1,200 young ATV riders have been injured in the last five years.
Portland Injury Attorney Matt Kaplan represents the families of minors injured in accidents caused by the negligence of others.