The US Consumer Products Safety Commission regulates over 15,000 products. All terrain vehicles, ATV’s, top the Commission’s list as the deadliest product in their portfolio. Each year more than 900 people, many of them children, die from these off-road vehicles. Now an even more dangerous type of ATV has appeared. Looking for a way to break into the lucrative US market, Chinese manufacturers have produced smaller, cheaper ATV’s and marketed these as vehicles for children. Where youth models of established ATV brands like Yamaha and Honda can cost upwards of $2000, prices for Chinese ATV’s for children and youth average $500.ATV’s are a $5 billion market, and the Consumer Products Safety Commission is concerned about the influx of these small, cheap, vehicles from China. The Commission has recently adopted a set of mandatory safety standards for all ATV’s sold in the US.One model that came to the Commision’s attention, was priced at $250. It was sporty-looking and colorful; it also lacked front brakes. Its handlebar assembly had sharp edges, and no protective padding, so that a young rider flung against it could be injured. The Commission voiced their very strong concerns to Fushin, the manufacturer, and in May 2009, Fushin recalled the vehicle.The small Chinese models are particularly dangerous because they are target for use by children, some as young as 6 years. Unlike cars and motorcycles, there are no federal or state licensure requirements, nor standards for evaluating who is capable of handling one. The American Academy of Pediatrics’ policy on ATV’s states that the safe use of an All Terrain Vehicle requires as much skill and judgement as driving a car or truck, and that young children have neither the physical strength nor the life experience and judgement to handle an ATV safely in all circumstances. They recommend that children under the age of 16 should be prohibited from driving them. In a 2005 press release, the Academy called ATV’s “the perfect recipe for tragedy.”Each year more than 100 children die on ATV’s, and another 40,000 are treated in emergency rooms.Concerned Families for ATV Safety is an organization of parents who have lost children in accidents. They point out that there is no evidence that children are safer on “child-sized” vehicles.An additional concern about ATV’s marketed for children is the large number of vehicle components made of lead, or containing lead. Legislation passed last year directs the Consumer Products Safety Commission to limit the lead content of any product primarily used by children under 12. This requirement will not be enforced until 2011, but it will force manufacturers of child-size ATV’s to rethink their designs.If you or your child have been seriously injured, a loved one has died in an ATV accident, and you believe that defects in the vehicle’s design contributed to the accident, you may want to discuss your case with a personal injury lawyer experienced in product design and ATV litigation. An experienced ATV attorney can help you determine whether you have a case, and what your options may be.California product liability law holds all members of a distribution chain responsible for a dangerous or defective product—the designer, the manufacturer, suppliers of component parts, the wholesaler, and the retail store that sold the product.
At about 3.79 million square miles, the United States is a vast nation – the world’s third largest by land area. The diversity of our terrain provides off-road riders with an all-you-can-eat buffet of ATV riding choices available for the taking -deserts and dunes of the southwest, towering peaks in the Rocky Mountains, dense forests and the countless lakes of the Midwest, stunning views from atop the Ozark Mountains and the colossal riding areas of the rolling Appalachians.If you live in the Western United States or want to travel out there for a change in your ATV riding terrain, here are six great spots in the Pacific U.S. region to get you started.Imperial Sand DunesPerhaps the most famous off-road destination in the country, and one of the most popular ATV riding areas in the world, the Imperial Sand Dunes (frequently called Glamis) of Southern California near the Mexican border includes approximately 118,000 acres for off-highway vehicles like ATVs, dirt bikes, sand rails, side-by-sides and trucks.Riding the Imperial dunes for the first time is daunting, with difficulty ranging from easy to white knuckles. Getting lost is a concern, as the terrain is always morphing, and the scenery blends together. The payoff is riding in an endless desert paradise seemingly designed exclusively as a high-speed ATV riding oasis.Mojave DesertA spectacular getaway for residents of the Southwest, and anyone looking for a change of pace, the Mojave Desert in California contains some of the greatest high desert riding in the country. Terrain varies from enormous valley stretches to mostly treeless hillsides that bring riders thousands of feet above the desert floor. Don’t let the extreme weather scare you off. Springtime in the Mojave is particularly delightful, as the desert is bursting with life and blanketed by bright patches of wildflowers.Mount Hood National Forest There’s a reason you periodically hear of exploring hikers trapped on Mount Hood in Oregon – the view and extreme high-altitude experience is worth a little risk. If you go by atv and stay on the marked trail system, you can get a similar thrill without having to pack and carry camping gear, and you’ll probably make it out alive at the end of the day.Mount Hood is incredibly beautiful, and the above-the-clouds (in some cases) ATV trails offer riders great variety and make for a very amusing and scenic ride. This is dream-like riding on a grand scale.Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation AreaLocated along the beautiful Pacific coast in Southern California just north of Santa Barbara, Pismo Beach’s Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area is a popular ATV destination for sand dune riding right on the ocean coast. Formerly known as the Pismo Dunes, Oceano is a geologically unique location. The prevailing ocean winds create uncommon riding conditions, but all riders must exercise extreme caution in spotting dangerous slipface drop-offs.Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation AreaAs California’s largest State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA), Ocotillo Wells has more than 80,000 acres of desert that’s open to off-highway exploration, which is a gargantuan amount of riding possibilities. Even better, Ocotillo is affordable: no fees are collected for camping or day use, and camping is permitted for up to 30 days a year – so stay a while!Key attractions include the eroded Blow Sand Hill, the 200-foot-high Devil’s Slide, Barrel Springs sand dunes, the unusual Shell Reef and Pumpkin Patch sandstone concretions.Oregon Dunes National Recreation AreaLike no other place on the planet, the Oregon Dunes bring fantastic dune riding, the Pacific Ocean and pine trees together in one remarkable spot. The dunes start at the sea and, at points, stretch two miles inland and reach up to 500 feet above sea level.The continent’s largest expanse of coastal sand dunes, approximately half of the Oregon Dunes are open to motorized vehicles. Campgrounds, staging areas and several annual events make this a top ATV destination.