National attention was directed towards the harrowing accident of 8 year-old Maddie Spears, niece of pop singer Britney Spears, which occurred nearly two weeks ago. After a crash on a Polaris All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) on the family’s property in Louisiana, Maddie was airlifted to a nearby hospital and left unconscious for two days. Her recovery has been described as nothing short of miraculous. The 8 year-old apparently swerved to dodge a drainage ditch and flipped the Polaris ATV.
ATVs (all-terrain vehicles) and UTVs (utility-task vehicles) are widely used by families not only for recreational purposes but also for work-related uses, especially in rural areas. Data from the Motorcycle Industry Council and the Specialty Equipment Market Association indicates that ATV sales in the U.S. have increased substantially over the past 10 years.
Off-Road vehicles present big safety risks for young people. Children under the age of 16 should not be allowed to drive a UTV or adult ATV and should always ride an ATV that is suitable for their age. Riders under the age of 16 should always be supervised by an adult. Idaho unlicensed operators under the age of 16 must have completed a motorbike or an approved ATV safety course to ride on national forest roads. See I.C. §49-302 (11) a.
Idaho law further requires all persons under the age of 18 to wear a safety approved protective helmet while riding or operating an ATV on or off the road. See .I.C. §49-666. Also, passengers should be large enough to be able to rest both feet on the floorboard. The Idaho Department of Parks & Recreation offers an ATV/Motorbike safety and educational program for all OHVs (Off-Highway Vehicles).
Safety for yourself and those who are enjoying the outdoors with you is of the utmost importance. We Idahoans love to recreate in our scenic Gem State. An ATV crash can immediately spoil a family trip or outing.
If you or a family member has been injured in an ATV accident due to another’s careless behavior, call the personal injury team at Racine Olson for a consultation at: 208-232-6101. Our knowledgeable lawyers can answer your questions and help you with your claim.
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