In the first quarter of 2011, our Unit conducted two body recoveries, both of which were ATV-related. The simple fact is that the number of ATV-related accidents that we respond to is astounding.
Last Sunday, one Officer and three Mountain Rescue volunteers responded via Huey to a dry lake bed located near Lake Mead. A 25-year-old female had been riding at speeds of 35-40 MPH when she attempted to make a quick turn, ultimately flying over the handle bars. She wasn't wearing a helmet and suffered severe head and neck injuries. As our Unit arrived, we discovered police, ambulance, and flight for life already on scene.
ATV riding is extremely popular in Southern Nevada with an abundance of recreational areas open and available for riders to enjoy. Unfortunately, there are many riders out there who do not follow general ATV Safety guidelines. Our Unit highly recommends that riders educate themselves on how to be safe while riding, take rider safety classes, and avoid riding in environments that are above the skill level of the rider. The ATV Safety Institute lists the following items as the Golden Rules of ATV Riding:
- Always wear a DOT-compliant helmet, goggles, long sleeves, long pants, over-the-ankle boots, and gloves.
- Never ride on paved roads except to cross when done safely and permitted by law - another vehicle could hit you. ATVs are designed to be operated off-highway.
- Never ride under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
- Never carry a passenger on a single-rider ATV, and no more than one passenger on an ATV specifically designed for two people.
- Ride an ATV that's right for your age.
- Supervise riders younger than 16; ATVs are not toys.
- Ride only on designated trails and at a safe speed.
- Take a hands-on ATV Course.