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Tips to Avoid Off-Road Powersports Accidents

January 5, 2021


Since experts say outside is the safest place to play to avoid exposure to the coronavirus, it is not surprising that the powersports industry is experiencing record sales in 2020. Moreover, with lots of places to ride off road, the Gainesville area is a hub for All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs), side-by-side four wheelers, and dirt bike motorcycles. When operated safely, powersports like these can provide endless hours of outdoor fun and recreation. However, it is important to have the proper training and follow the safety advice you receive about where and when to ride. This will help you and members of your family avoid unwanted off-road accidents. A recent survey suggests that the average age of most ATV and dirt bike riders is under 16. However, it is important for all ages to follow Florida statutes that govern powersports vehicles. For example, Florida requires any rider, driver, or passenger that is under 16 to wear safety equipment (including a helmet, eye protection, and ankle-high boots) as well as be supervised by an adult.

How to Avoid Off-Road Accidents

Without a driver’s license requirement, recreational off-highway vehicles, all-terrain vehicles, and off-road motorcycles are still regulated by Florida laws when operated on unpaved public roads like those found in parks and recreation areas. Private riding parks and tracks will often post additional safety requirements and rules for operating your powersports vehicle. Listed below are tips to keep you having fun when you go off-roading:

  • Select a vehicle that is size and age appropriate
  • Get proper instruction on how to ride the powersports vehicle.
  • Never operate a powersports vehicle on paved roadways.
  • Wear the appropriate DOT-compliant safety gear.
  • No passengers on a single rider powersports vehicle.
  • Pick trails that match the rider’s skill level.
  • Ride at a safe speed on designated trails.
  • Never operate powersports vehicles under the influence.
  • Take extra caution when crossing any roadway.

Off-road powersports vehicles are designed for off-highway use. Although it may be posted as legal to cross a paved roadway while using caution, it is illegal to ride on paved roads, even for a short distance. Serious accidents with more severe injuries tend to occur when an ATV, dirt bike, or four-wheeler collides with a road vehicle. No one is having fun when a day off-road ends with a trip to the emergency room.

Off Road Motorcycle and ATV Accidents Do Happen

It is easy to understand why people enjoy riding off-road vehicles, but it is important that you understand these vehicles can be dangerous. Injuries can happen in many ways. Some are unavoidable, while others are preventable. Powersports vehicles are capable of high speeds and operating these vehicles off road requires developing the right skills and physical conditioning. It is also important to remember, with many places to explore off-road in our area, dirt roads and trails can be crowded with powersports enthusiasts. Even though you always do the right things to protect yourself when riding an ATV or other off-road powersports vehicle, there may be a time when an accident occurs that was not your fault. If the operator of another vehicle failed to follow Florida laws or rules for safe operation of their vehicle, they could be found negligent. Only a personal injury accident attorney can help you determine who was at fault and how much you could be owed for medical expenses, permanent disabilities, and other damages. If you think you have sufficient grounds to seek compensation due to someone else’s negligent behavior, contact Schackow & Mercadante at (352) 371-3000 to speak with a personal injury lawyer.

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