ATV Safety

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An All-Terrain Vehicle death this Memorial Day weekend brings the total number of ATV fatalities for the year to 14. Thirteen of those killed were not wearing helmets.

Jeff Hicks has been riding an ATV since he was a little boy and he's never been in an accident. However, nearly 800 people a year aren't that lucky. That's the average number of people killed each year in 4-wheeler accidents.

"They're anywhere from 400 to 800 pounds. So a single person can't do anything with an ATV on top of them. Its going to break about any bone it hits," Hicks said.

He also said despite all the media attention of ATV deaths he believes some riders aren't listening.

"I think it goes in one ear and out the other because they think that's never going to happen to me. I'm too good for that."

He went on and said he believes most of the accidents occur from inexperienced riders trying to do more than they should.

"People that never owned one before buy one and think that they can do anything an experienced rider can do as far as jumping hills or going up hills or going down hills."

"An ATV, especially these new 4-wheel drive machines are going places that they shouldn't go and just because it can go there doesn't mean it needs to go there," said John Ballance of Ballance Motorsports.

Ballance said another concern is that people equip their 4-wheelers with performance-enhancing gear, yet they don't put on their safety gear, such as helmets.

"My nephew's a 7-time national champion and he wouldn't think about getting on a track without a helmet, chest protector, Nerf bars, the whole deal," remarked Ballance.

Hicks believes riding an ATV can be a very enjoyable experience, but you have to be responsible. The ATV Safety Institute has eight golden rules to follow when riding a four-wheeler. Some of those rules include: ride only on designated trails at proper speeds and never ride while under the influence. Also, never carry a passenger on a single-rider ATV.