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Safety tips for the new ATV season

This April, the CBC reported on the death of a four-year-old girl in Marchand, Manitoba who was killed when the all-terrain vehicle (ATV) she was riding flipped backward while climbing a hill. These sorts of incidents are all too common: ATVs are an extremely popular pastime in Canada, but also a fairly dangerous one. According to the Canada Safety Council, about 182 people lose their lives in off-road vehicle accidents each year, meaning ATV injury lawyers are sadly familiar with stories like the one out of Manitoba.

Luckily, there are a number of easy precautions you can take to stay safe on the trails this spring and summer. Let’s have a look at a few:


To begin with, most ATVs in Ontario must be registered and have rear license plates (exceptions exist in a few Northern regions), and must be insured. These measures promote accountability and provide coverage to injured ATVers.

ATV-riders should also abide by their vehicle’s specifications: in particular, two people should not ride a one-person vehicle, and three people should not ride a two-person vehicle. Doing so can greatly increase your risk of injury.

Age restrictions

ATV age restrictions are fairly flexible, though as this April’s Manitoba tragedy shows – and as all ATV injury lawyers would agree – very young children on ATVs are inherently at risk.

Children younger than 12 are permitted to ride child-specific ATVs, but only off-road and only under direct adult supervision. Older children are allowed to ride adult ATVs, but only while an adult is present.

To share a road with other automobiles, ATVers must be at least 16 years old and have a G2 or M2 driver’s license. In both on-road and off-road scenarios, an approved helmet is required.

Driving on shared roads

Both car accident and ATV injury lawyers understand the correlation between speed and injury. Because they lack other vehicles’ fundamental safety precautions, ATVs are subject to restricted speed limits. For instance, if a road’s posted speed limit is less than 50km/h, an ATV must travel no faster than 20km/h; if the posted speed limit exceeds 50km/h, an ATV must not travel more than 50km/h.

General tips

Do not drink and ATV! This rule needs no explanation; alcohol consumption dramatically increases your risk of serious injury or death.

ATVers should also be sure to plan their routes ahead of time and communicate those plans to a family member or friend. Regularly checking in via cell phone can also help you be found in the case of an accident.

If you or a member of your family has been injured in an ATV accident, contact the ATV injury lawyers at Will Davidson LLP to find out how we can help you access compensation and aid your recovery. Call today to set up a free, no-obligation consultation.

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