2020 was a year of unprecedented challenges, with the Covid-19 pandemic resulting in a 9% drop in the U.S. national child mortality rate(1). Yet shockingly, ATV-related accidents were reported to increase by 34% during the same period by hospital administrators in several States(2).
ATVs are a popular form of recreational vehicle, but they can be dangerous if not used properly. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), more than half of all pediatric ATV-related fatalities have occurred on roads, and this proportion varies with age(3). The Consumer Product Safety Commission’s OHV Report 2021 also found that deaths involving ATVs, ROVs, and UTVs increased from 2016 through 2018(4).
Research has suggested that the number of injuries and deaths in kids involving ATVs increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, likely due to an increase in leisure activities such as riding ATVs while stuck at home(5). A recent study conducted by researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy found that ATV-related head and neck injuries treated in U.S. emergency departments had remained steady over time except for a 20% increase during the COVID-19 pandemic(6).
It is clear that we must take action to reduce these alarming numbers. We know that education is key when it comes to powersport safety – teaching riders about proper use and operation of vehicles, as well as providing information about protective gear such as helmets and other safety equipment. We must also work together to ensure that our communities have access to safe places where people can ride their vehicles responsibly.
We know the solution, and we must start talking about it: normalizing powersport safety conversations, expressing that it is good to care for and look after one another, and taking steps towards creating safer environments for everyone who enjoys recreational activities like riding ATVs.