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All-terrain vehicles: Where do they reside on the safety spectrum?

As noted by author and outdoor enthusiast David Foote, all-terrain vehicles have been a mainstay on byways and back roads for several decades now, especially since a manufacturing tweak turning many of them into four-wheelers increased their access for millions of people.

Here’s the question, long posed by many people and extreme in its directness: Are they safe?

The answer to whether ATVS are more susceptible of being involved in motor vehicle accidents will of course be heavily influenced by who is being asked. For ardent advocates, the ATV is a stable as well as fun conveyance. Unquestionably, high numbers of riders in Ohio and nationally have spent thousands of hours motoring around in ATVs without adverse outcomes.

And then are those with different tales to tell, with many of their stories being readily reminiscent of media accounts that describe a tendency for ATVs to roll over.

Driver skill is obviously a key factor in whether an ATV is any given case will provide a safe motoring experience.

Aside from driver opinion, though, there are of course accident-related statistics that weigh in heavily on any ATV-related safety debate.

Here’s one: According the National Highway Traffics Safety Administration, scrutiny of crash data for all vehicle types reveals that ATVS are more dangerous than cars and less dangerous than motorcycles when it comes to involvement in fatal crashes.

On the other hand, though, and in motorcycle/ATV crash comparisons in which injuries suffered are similar, ATV riders fare worse than motorcyclists.

The American Consumer Protection and Safety Commission states that 726 people died riding ATVs in the country in 2011, with an additional 115,000 being injured.

Source: Cottage Country Now, "ATVs love them or hate them," David Foote, Nov. 6, 2013

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