House Call: Summer safety with biking and ATVs

(MGN Online)
Updated: Jul. 8, 2022 at 6:00 PM EDT
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BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) - Welcome back to UHC’s House Call on WDTV. In the second part of our five part series, Summer Safety for Kids, Dr. John Backus, Director of Emergency Medicine Operations at UHC, joins us to talk about summer safety tips and ways to keep children safe and healthy while enjoying their summer.

1. When it comes to riding safety what should all parents or guardians do to protect their child or teen from a bike or ATV accident?

Make sure that a helmet and other protective gear, such as eye protection, boots, gloves, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt fit appropriately. You want to make sure your safety equipment is:

  • Well maintained
  • Age-appropriate
  • Worn consistently and correctly
  • Appropriately certified for use

2. Riding certainly comes with some risks, especially ATVs, what more can you talk about when it comes to staying safe with off-highway vehicles?

The Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) website provides that 10 states in the U.S. account for 42% of the off-highway vehicle deaths, which include ATVs. West Virginia is one of those 10 states.

Consumers using ATVs need to understand the risks and necessary safety measures of ATVs before riding them.

The dangers of riding off-highway vehicles are real and include overturning, collisions, and occupant ejection. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) urges the riding community to follow these safety tips to keep children safe:

  • Make sure children younger than 16 operate only youth model ATVs appropriate for their age.
  • Get hands-on training from a qualified instructor, e.g., in an ATV Safety Institute (ASI) course.
  • Riders younger than 16 should drive only age-appropriate youth models, and never adult models.
  • Always wear a helmet and other protective gear, such as eye protection, boots, gloves, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt.

3. We have talked about what needs to be done, but what should you avoid?

There are two main types of crashes: the most common is falls, and the most serious is collisions with cars. Regardless of the reason for the crash, prevention is the name of the game.

When it comes to ATVs: The following are things you can do to decrease your risk of an ATV crash:

  • Never let children ride ATVs that are meant for adults.
  • Never let children younger than six on an ATV.
  • Never ride with more passengers than there are seats. Most ATVs are designed for one rider.
  • Never ride on public roads, except to cross, where permitted by law.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol before or while driving an ATV, because alcohol can impair judgment and response time.
  • Stay off paved roads.

When it comes to BICYCLES: Ride responsibly and remember: All states require bicyclists on the roadway to follow the same rules and responsibilities as motorists.

  • Regardless of the season, bicyclist deaths occur most often between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.
  • Bicyclist deaths occur most often in urban areas (79%) compared to rural areas (21%).
  • Bicyclist deaths are seven times higher for males than females.
  • One in four fatal bike crashes involves a bicyclist who had been drinking alcohol.

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