The unique design of ATVs creates risks for the rider if not handled properly. This chart compares design factors of ATVs and the special risks associated with them.
Capable of traveling over rough terrain
Unknown hazards and obstacles, such as rocks, ruts, stumps, fences, holes, and embankments, may cause collisions and rollovers.
Wide, low-pressure, knobby tires
May cause loss of control from wobble or bounce.
Create unstable handling on paved roads.
Fixed rear axle for traction
May cause loss of control on paved surfaces.
Requires special riding skills for turns.
Powerful drive train with high and low gear ratios
Makes it capable of speeds that are too fast for conditions and/or operator's skill level.
Has power to climb until it flips over backward.
High ground clearance and short, narrow wheelbase
Requires operator to meet minimum size and weight requirements to balance the vehicle properly.
Seat on top of the vehicle
Requires operator to maintain balance on the vehicle.
Creates a high center of gravity.
Can cause operator to fall or be thrown.
Provides no protection for the operator in a collision or a rollover. In a rollover, the weight of the vehicle can crush the operator.
OHV operators are sometimes criticized for making excessive noise. All OHVs must have a muffler and spark arrestor in good working condition.