All-terrain vehicles (ATVs, also called quads) are motorized vehicles that are very popular in Alberta. They’re designed to drive off-road or on dirt roads, never on paved roads or highways.
ATVs are powerful, fast, heavy machines. They can go up to 105 kilometres an hour and weigh up to 272 kilograms (600 pounds).
ATVs have a high centre of gravity and no roll bars, safety cages, or seatbelts. That means they can tip easily, throw riders and passengers off, or even roll over on top of riders.
Between 2016 and 2020, 64 Albertans died riding ATVs.
Medical experts agree that children younger than 16 years should never ride ATVs—not anytime, anywhere, or any size.
Children don’t have the strength or skill to ride ATVs. And it takes them longer to notice when something is dangerous. Watching over your child on an ATV isn’t enough to keep them safe.
There's no proof that using a smaller, "youth-sized" ATV is safer for children. Children younger than 16 still have a higher chance of getting hurt—even dying—using an ATV. They’re 2 to 5 times more likely than adults to get injured, even on smaller ATVs.
Three-wheeled ATVs aren't stable, and no one should ever use them.
The Canadian Paediatric Society recommends that children under 16 years never ride an ATVs, even as a passenger.
Often, passengers ride ATVs that aren't made to carry more than 1 person. When a passenger rides on a 1-person ATV, it becomes more unstable and harder to control.
If an ATV is made for passengers, those passengers should be 16 years old or older.
Some ATVs are being made safer and more stable. But there are always risks when you ride an ATV. Here are factors that can raise your risk of injury or death on an ATV:
These tips can lower your risk of getting hurt when you ride an ATV.
Alberta Health Services, Analytics. (2021). [Dashboard of injuries in Alberta. Alberta Injury Surveillance (workbook).]
Current as of: December 23, 2021
Author: Provincial Injury Prevention, Alberta Health Services
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