8 point plan for ATV safety - Beware of the risks associated with these highly dangerous vehicles
The number of All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) related fatalities and injuries taking place on Irish farms in recent years has increased in tandem with the surge of ATV or "quad bike" ownership in this country. It is now estimated that there are now around 10,000 ATVs in use on Irish farms.
ATVs have inherently unstable design features (a narrow-wheel base, short turning radius, high centre of gravity and low tyre pressure) to maximize manoeuvrability. The injuries from these vehicles can often be fatal, because they can achieve high speeds and when an ATV overturns, there is no roll bar to protect the driver's head or neck (as is the case with a tractor or utility vehicle).
Already this year, there have been two farming related deaths due to ATV accidents in Ireland. Some of the key risk factors for ATV related injuries and death include being male, being of rural residence, driving inexperience and large engine size. How many of those boxes do you or a loved one tick?
There is no doubting that ATVs can be a real aid on the farm, but a vehicle with a roll bar device is safer on every level. It is imperative farmers who decide to purchase an ATV know they are buying a statistically dangerous vehicle.
If you have an ATV on the farm, you are being negligent if you don't at least familiarise yourself with safe driving practices and prevent children (those under 16 years of age) from driving the ATV in any circumstance.
Eight point plan for safer use
Non-fatal accidents are not well reported. The underlying causes are usually one or more of the following:
* lack of structured training and/or experience;