All-terrain vehicles (ATVs)

All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are motorized vehicles designed to be used by a single operator on off-road areas and not public roads. ATVs are not safe for children and teens. According to the Canadian Pediatric Society, in Canada, nearly 40% of ATV related deaths are among children and teens aged 18 and younger.

The MCH Trauma Centre treats approximately 20 patients each year who have sustained serious injuries while riding on ATVs. These injuries include brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, dental and facial trauma, abdominal trauma, and broken bones.

Risk factors

  • Not wearing a helmet
  • Age: children under 16 years do not have the strength, skill, or experience to safely handle ATV’s
  • Speed
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Inexperience and poorly skilled
  • Too many passengers, which changes the balance of the vehicle and makes it harder to control.

The Act respecting off-highway vehicles includes:

  • Wearing a motorcycle type helmet is mandatory in all circumstances and all types of trails.
  • The rider must wear gloves and appropriate footwear.
  • The minimum age to operate an ATV is 16 years of age. In addition, riders 16 and 17 years of age are required to take a training course and to hold a certificate issued by Federation Québécoise des clubs quads. All new riders should take a training course.
  • To carry a passenger the driver must be at least 18 years of age.

When driving an ATV, following these recommendations:

  • Children younger than 16 years of age should not be driving an ATV.
  • Wear a properly fitting approved helmet for ATVs or motorcycles with a visor or safety goggles.
  • Wear bright clothing to make yourself visible.
  • ATV drivers should take an approved training course.
  • When operating a single person ATV, do NOT carry passengers.
  • Check to make sure the machine is working properly before each use.
  • Do not drive too far. Make sure that you can walk back if stranded. Consider using a buddy system on a second machine.
  • Never drive in bad weather.
  • Ride within your own skill limitations and those of your ATV.

Never drink or take drugs and drive!

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