During the summer months and well into the fall, many Ontarians enjoy getting outside and participating in activities such as driving ATVs. However, it is important to remember that even though this is considered a leisure activity, ATVs are powerful vehicles, and accidents may result in serious injuries or even death.
Caution and common sense are critical for anyone who is operating an ATV.
What is an ATV?
ATV is short for All-Terrain Vehicle. It is an off-road vehicle with the following attributes:
- Four low-pressure bearing tires.
- Steered with a handlebar.
- The seat is designed to be straddled.
- Designed to be a one-person vehicle.
What is required to drive an ATV in Ontario?
The Off-Road Vehicles Act outlines several requirements for driving an ATV in Ontario, including:
- Age – You must be at least 12 years old to drive these vehicles unless you are on the vehicle owner’s property and under adult supervision. People aged 12-15 may operate ATVs unsupervised but only on private or public trails. To operate an ATV on provincial highways or municipal roadways, the operator must be a minimum of 16 years of age and have a valid G2 licence.
- Registration – All ATVs must be registered with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. You must be at least 16 years old to register a vehicle, and you must carry your vehicle permit with you and display your license plate on the vehicle.
- Insurance – If you are operating an ATV anywhere other than the owner’s property, you are required to have vehicle liability insurance. You must have your insurance card with you when using the vehicle. If another driver operates the ATV with your consent, you could be liable for any injuries or damages that may occur as a result.
- Helmet – Unless on the vehicle owner’s property, every driver and passenger of an ATV must wear a helmet that meets the requirements for motorcycle use. It should be properly fastened under the chin and be certified by an agency such as DOT or Snell.
ATVs and Personal Injuries
Like with a motorcycle, ATVs are usually designed to be operated with the driver sitting above the engine. ATVs provide more safety than motorcycles when driven at slower speeds because their four wheels give them more stability.
However, at higher speeds, an ATV can be just as dangerous as any other vehicle. The most serious risk is that of an ATV rolling over onto the driver or passenger.
ATV injuries can be severe – some of them taking weeks or months to recover from – and others causing lifetime effects. Some of the most common injuries that occur as the result of ATV accidents include:
- Crush injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
What should I do if I’m injured in an ATV accident?
If you or a loved one has been hurt in an ATV accident, there are a number of steps that you should take, including:
- Seek immediate medical attention.
- Record as much information about the accident as possible (write down what you remember, take pictures, exchange insurance information with other drivers if another vehicle was involved).
- Inform your insurance company.
- Consult with a personal injury lawyer (do not sign any offers from insurance companies until you have completed this step).
Are you entitled to compensation?
Depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident and the injuries you sustained, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Contact Hoffman Law today to arrange for a free consultation.