ATV crashes on the rise, what you need to know

Published: Mar. 8, 2021 at 4:33 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - On Saturday, WCTV reported two ATV crashes that happened in our viewing area.

The first was in Wakulla County, where a woman suffered serious injury. The other was in Jackson County, where a 50-year-old-man was pronounced dead at the scene after being flown from his bike.

That makes at least five serious ATV crashes in the past two months, including one in Leon County from January, that killed a teacher at Fort Braden, Megan Walker.

In February, a crash in Tallahassee seriously injured a little boy and his mother. Kaydyn is still in the hospital recovering from spinal surgery.

Law enforcement says the amount of cases is not typical. In the past two months, WCTV has reported five crashes that have left two dead and nine injured.

Florida Highway Patrol is asking riders to be more cautious and follow the rules of the road.

Master Corporal Patricia Jefferson-Shaw says that each state has different ATV rules, but in Florida ATV’s are to be driven only on unpaved roads at less than 35 miles an hour.

“It is not designed for the main roadway,” shares Cpl. Jefferson-Shaw. “In a lot of the crashes that are occurring, they are happening on the roadways and then losing control.”

She also notes that ATV’s are not designed like cars or golf carts; there is no enclosure, no seat belts, and helmets and protective gear are not required for adults.

Because of this, Cpl. Jefferson-Shaw says one wrong move can be the difference between life and death.

“If you overturn on that ATV, nine times out of 10, or even 10 times out of 10, you are going to be ejected from that ATV,” she said.

She warns against driving under the influence, letting young drivers use ATV’s that are not equipped for their size, driving at night, or trying tricks or stunts, “A lot of people see it as a fun enjoyment thing to go out there and go out and have fun with it,” she shares, “And yes it can be fun, if it is operated properly.”

Jefferson-Shaw adds that if you are riding an ATV, you should always wear boots or sneakers, not flip-flops. If the vehicle you are riding is meant for one person, only one person should be on it.

She also notes that if you are under the age of 16, a helmet and eye goggles under Florida law, are mandatory.

WCTV did reach out to LCSO to see how many ATV incidents they have responded to this year. We are waiting on a response from their records department.

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