KATC TV3 reported a terrible tragedy last weekend, reminding us that when riding ATVs, safety should be paramount.

Two people in Vermilion Parish were killed and another passenger injured when the ATV they were riding crashed.  According to the news report, the three were riding an ATV on Clint Road when it crashed after crossing LA Hwy 35. Our thoughts are with the families affected by the accident.

Clint Road in Vermilion Parish (Google)

We need to use this tragedy as a reminder to all that ATVs are to be used safely.

One of the problems with ATVs is this: the seat appears to be big enough for a passenger, but in reality the seat is only that large to allow for the sole operator to be able to operate the vehicle properly.

According to the the U.S. Government's ATV Safety website,

single-rider ATVs that have elongated seats are NOT designed to carry a passenger but to allow the driver to properly shift his or her weight and maintain control of the vehicle.

Again, most ATVs are designed for a single rider, with NO passengers.  According to government statistics, nearly 800 Americans have died each year since 2004 in ATV-related incidents, with over 130,000 injured.  Many of these deaths and injuries would have been prevented had the ATV rider(s) followed the proper safety guidelines and state and local laws.

In Louisiana, riding an ATV on the highway is illegal (special exceptions are given to farm workers, but they can only ride along the shoulder of the roadway).  According to the ATV Safety Institute, an ATV rider should always wear an approved helmet and riding gear, and should take an approved training course before riding.  They also say that passengers should only ride when a passenger's seat, hand grips and foot rests are installed on an ATV equipped to handle the additional seat.

The bottom line is this: many ATV-related deaths and injuries CAN be prevented if the proper safety guidelines are followed.  ATVs can be fun, but only if used in a responsible manner.  Do NOT carry passengers on ATVs.

(KATC, ATV Safety Institute, ATVsafety.gov)