ATV accidents on the rise in the U.S. - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

ATV accidents on the rise in the U.S.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Heartland law enforcement agencies call it a growing family sport, all terrain vehicles, or ATV riding.

Yet, every year, officials say thousands head to the emergency room with injuries, hundreds resulting in death.

Turns out, June and July are the peak months for ATV-related accidents.

There have been several ATV accidents recently, including one last week in which someone died.

Even so, experienced riders say it's a dangerous sport, but injuries can be prevented.

Aaron Hager has be riding ATVs since he was just a kid.

Now, his kids are following him down the same dirt road.

"I always have to help her. I'm here watching her and making sure she is doing what she should be doing,” said Hager.

Hager believes getting his kids started early in the sport is important.

"I'll be a lot more at ease with my daughter being 14 years old and having some training then if I just all of a sudden bought her a four-wheeler when she's 14 and she has never ridden one before,” he said.

And like any sport, Hager said there's always a risk for injury if you don't play safe.

"These aren't machines to jump on and take off,” said Corporal Darin Hickey with the Cape Girardeau Police Department.

The Department recently added eight sets of wheels to their fleet.

Corporal Hickey said a lot of accidents have to do with bad behavior.

"In everything that we do, from driving a patrol car, to entering on a search warrant, safety is our first a foremost and we are not going to disregard that with these ATVs,” he said.

He said you can't stress enough the golden rules:
  • Always wear a helmet
  • Never ride on a public road
  • Never ride with a passenger
  • And most importantly, one size ATV does not fit all
Which is why Hanger's daughter, Madeline, will be seated here for a couple of years.

"I look for her not to be riding this in three or four more years, she'll need a bigger bike,” said Hager.

More than 11 million people ride ATVs, that's up from 4 million in 2010.

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