Two recent deaths in Montana by individuals riding all-terrain vehicles have brought safety to the forefront by Safe Kids Missoula.

Safe Kids co-coordinator Kira Huck described her concern.

“Around the holidays there were two ATV-related deaths on Montana roads and on a farm near Geraldine,” began Huck. “We just want to remind riders to use all the necessary safety precautions. We know ATV’s are very common in Montana and they’re also an important part of the lifestyle and livelihood for many, however, there are steps that we can take to protect our selves and especially our youth.”

Huck provided some specific safety suggestions.

“In Montana we recommend that everyone wear a helmet, but by law it’s required for anyone under the age of 18,” she said. “We also recommend that riders use other safety gear like long pants, long sleeves, closed-toe shoes, eye protection and maybe even a chest pad. They should also only ride an ATV that is appropriate for their age and size. Many times what factors into youth injuries is when they ride an ATV that is too big for them and they may not have the strength required to keep that machine upright.”

Huck said it’s always tempting to allow a child to ride on your lap when on an ATV, but safety should always come first.

“I did that when I was a kid, too,” she said. “If the ATV is designed for two people, that’s one factor, but if it’s not designed for two people, even if it is just a child, you shouldn’t be doing it. If you do ride a child on your lap, at least make sure they’re wearing a helmet.”

According to Sake Kids Missoula, there were an estimated 93,800 ATV-related, emergency department-treated injuries in the United States in 2017. An estimated 26 percent of these involved children younger than 16 years of age.

 

Safe Kids Missoula advises ATV riders to always follow the manufacturer’s safety recommendations and these 10 tips:

 

  1. Ride an ATV that is appropriate for your age and supervise riders younger than 16
  2. Always wear a helmet that meets the Department of Transportation requirements and other protective gear like pants, long sleeves, close-toed shoes and eye protection
  3. Abide by the law and only operate an ATV where and how it is permitted
  4. Never ride under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  5. Travel at speeds appropriate for conditions and operator ability
  6. Never carry a passenger on a single-rider ATV, and no more than one passenger on an ATV designed for two people
  7. Use flags, reflectors and lights to make the ATV more visible
  8. Avoid riding at night
  9. Inspect your ATV before riding
  10. Complete an ATV driver’s safety course