As the long Labor Day weekend approaches and riders head out for one of their last adventures this summer, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) urges riders to keep all off-road vehicles – OFF roads. This includes all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs), side-by-sides, dirt bikes, and other utility vehicles.
At least 900 deaths (or 33% of reported deaths during a four-year period) were related to ATVs being ridden on paved roads or parking lots. It’s important for every rider at every age to know:
- Off-road vehicles are designed to be driven only on off-road terrain, not paved surfaces.
- Off-road vehicles are difficult to control on paved surfaces and are at risk of overturning.
- On paved roads, off-road vehicles are at a higher risk of being in a collision with cars, trucks and other vehicles.
- In many states, it is illegal to ride off-road vehicles on paved roads.
Including the 900 ATV-related deaths on paved surfaces, nearly 3,000 deaths related to ATVs and ROVs were reported for the four-year period. An estimated 490,000 ATV-related injuries were treated in emergency rooms during this same period.
In addition to knowing the dangers of riding on paved surfaces, all riders should always follow the safety tips below when operating an off-road vehicle.
- Always wear a helmet and other protective gear such as eye protection, boots, gloves, long pants and long-sleeved shirt.
- Never have more passengers than there are seats. Most ATVs are designed for one rider, and ROVs should never have more passengers than there are seat belts.
- Never operate an off-road vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Get hands-on training from a qualified instructor.
- Fasten seat belts and keep all parts of your body inside an ROV.
- Children should not be passengers in a ROV unless their feet can reach the floor in a sitting position.
- Riders younger than 16 should only drive age-appropriate youth model ATVs, never adult ATVs or ROVs.
For more children-specific safety tips related to off-road vehicles, please read an additional blog post from CPSC.
A free poster with the ATV and ROV safety tips is available for download from CPSC’s Neighborhood Safety Network (NSN). To receive all the free safety posters from NSN, sign up to receive the email updates.