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Author Topic: ATV Accidents  (Read 13552 times)

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Offline Phorester

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ATV Accidents
« on: June 03, 2007, 08:16:37 AM »

Jeff's excellent summary of his trip to his property and the resulting forest management plan by Ron has a picture that reminded me of a sometimes unanticipated problem with our ATVs.

His ATV setup with the sprayer on the back creates a potential problem due to the much higher center of gravity on the back of it.  When the tank is full of water and chemical, that's a lot of extra weight carried high, and located on a very short wheel base for support. Look at how much easier it would be to tip this thing over backwards if you were going up a slope than if the spray rig was not there.  Now, if you fat fellers are thinking, well my weight will balance that out........., not so.  With all this weight directly over the back wheels, they become a pivot point when you're going uphill, and it will flip.

This happened to me 5 years ago and resulted in a serious accident.  My ATV had been set up with a seeder on the back, that held probably 30 pounds of seed about 3 feet above the back wheels.  I had also tied the remainder of the 50-pound bag of seed to the front cargo rack.  We had had a mountain forest fire the year before, and were re-habing the firelines. I was going up a fireline to seed it.  On a steep portion, the ATV flipped backwards end-over-end, and continued flipping down the mountain about 50 feet, taking me with it. I had bungy-corded a rake next to my right leg from the rear cargo rack to the front one, and that rake held my leg in place so I couldn't jump off the darn thing.

My right femoral neck was broken into 7 or 8 pieces.  That's the short bone that goes from the top of the leg bone into the hip socket. I now have a steel pin and plate in that hip joint to hold it all together, and wound up with 4 months off work,  2 months of half-days after that,  one year of light duty after that, 8 months of physical therapy, lingering, low grade pain and sleepless nights for about 3 years after that. The surgeons couldn't get my right leg lined up properly with my body, so it's now permanently out of alignment and I have problems with walking and climbing.  Not enough to keep me from most of my job or doing most things, but I can no longer run or jump, backpack, bowl, etc.  I have trouble climbing over anything; tailgates, fences, etc. 

While taking physical therapy one day, a friend of mine who is an insurance adjustor told me that ATV accidents had become the number one personal accident reported to insurance companies in Virginia.

Not condemning Jeff's setup at all, just saying to be aware of the difference in weight distribution it creates.   Just be careful.  These things quickly become dangerous if you let them.
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Offline Jeff

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Re: ATV Accidents
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2007, 08:29:40 AM »
Ouch!  I sure can see where a high center of gravity would be a problem now that you mention it. I'm pretty safe as there I am at is flat flat flat.  In my picture, the sprayer is even higher due to one thing. I'm lazy.  The back box is bolted on, and I didnt want to remove it and then have to put it back. Now that I have read this post, if I know I am ever going to be in rough terrain, I certainly wont stack weight.
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Offline Timburr

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Re: ATV Accidents
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2007, 09:25:18 AM »
An easy remedy in that scenario is to fit 'anti-wheelie' bars, similar to those fitted to dragsters.
Sense is not common

Offline sawguy21

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Re: ATV Accidents
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2007, 09:36:22 AM »
I doubt they would be practical on rough terrain. This is a common problem with the so called 'buddy seats' as well. Two up atv's are illegal in the U.S so the seats are offered by after market manufacturers as a place for the driver to sit up and stretch out after riding.
Yea right ;D My buddy's kids, both over weight young adults, escaped serious injury when the machine flipped on a hill
old age and treachery will always overcome youth and enthusiasm

Offline stonebroke

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Re: ATV Accidents
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2007, 10:09:02 AM »
The trick is to be aware that atvs are deadly machines, just like chainsaws. Every move you make with one you should think about first and if you think there might even be a question about what you want to do don't do it. Life is precious.  Do not get complacent and think you are a expert or  it might kill you. The new atvs are a lot heavier and much harder to manhandle. When they roll you canot get out from under them.

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Offline beenthere

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Re: ATV Accidents
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2007, 10:29:24 AM »
Phorester
Thanks for the heads-up on this. Having just found one hanging around my place, I am concerned over places l might go, and in similar situations as what you describe.

One main concern is how quick and responsive the reaction of this ATV is to a slight touch on the accelerator. I'd like to dampen that someway, as the jack-rabbit starts are sometimes breath-taking, but I don't really need that excitement for my riding.

Burlkraft and I both wondered why they don't have the twist handgrip accelerator, like motorcycles. Seems much easier to control - In our opinion.

Shifting down to low-low and manual shift instead of auto shift seems helpful.
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Offline Reddog

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Re: ATV Accidents
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2007, 11:23:29 AM »

Burlkraft and I both wondered why they don't have the twist handgrip accelerator, like motorcycles. Seems much easier to control - In our opinion.

 

The reason they don't is the same as snowmobiles. Twist grips freeze to easy, and that could leave you in  a fully thottle spot.
Ask any dirt bike rider that likes to push the season or ice races, most have had it happen.

Offline Mooseherder

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Re: ATV Accidents
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2007, 12:12:20 PM »
My Thumb trottle lever has alot of spring resistance and kinda wears out the thumb when it goes numb on long distance runs. They sell Trottle extenders that Tie Wrap to the lever that are plyable thin metal wrapped in rubber. You mold it to your liking. The extra leverage allows you to palm the trottle on straight runs and rest your thumb. This doesn't make trottle response safer, but the moment your hand is off that cable springs back big time.  Had I known before ordering this thing went on with 2 tie straps, I would have made my own. You will get used to your machine and it's limits as time goes on. Our machines are 50/50 work and play, cause life shouldn't always be about working.  :D  The scenery and wildlife on the trail make it all worth it. We saw a Black Bear crossing on the trail because we were leading the group last week.  I prefer to take my chances on an ATV instead of being with the idiots on I-95. ;D
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Online Dave Shepard

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Re: ATV Accidents
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2007, 01:40:17 PM »
I have a 26 gallon sprayer for my Rincon, I only filled it up once, now I do about a half tank. I knew there was something amiss when I couldn't steer on flat ground. The pastures where I spray can be hilly. A full tank is over 200 pounds of water. I been thrown off of my Rincon, and had it land on top of me before, it isn't fun.


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Offline Wudman

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Re: ATV Accidents
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2007, 03:48:39 PM »
We have a Yamaha Grizzly with a 15 gallon tank mounted on the rear rack.  It is used on a prescribed burning crew.  It definately makes the machine top heavy.  I have turned it over more than once myself.  Once was backwards when crossing a water bar on steep slope.  When it started over, I bailed off.  The machine landed flat on the handle bars with four wheels in the air.

Slide slopes are just as much of an issue.  Its probably been turned over a half dozen times in that manner.  I was traversing a side slope one day when I ran it up on a stump covered by grass.  I was at crawling speed at the time.  The machine threw me to the downhill side and I was scrambling to get away from it.  I managed to get out of its path, but it rolled over 4 times before coming to rest against a tree.  I'll give Yamaha credit where it is due.  They build some tough machines.  I set it back up and went on back to the truck.  I walked the rest of that day. 

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Offline Phorester

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Re: ATV Accidents
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2007, 01:04:42 PM »
Two problems that contrbuted to my accident. First, I was not used to all that weight on my ATV.  I had driven it on slopes just as steep or steeper, but that day I had all that extra weight with the full grass seeder on back and the 20+ pounds of grass seed on the front rack I was not used to.  I didn't realize how top-heavy it was.

Second, and most important I think, was the fire rake I had bungy-corded next to my right leg. I had strapped it down to the rear and front cargo racks on that side.  When I attemped to bail off the thing on the first roll, that rake held me in place.  If it had not been there, I could have jumped off and let the ATV go down the hill by itself.

Learn from my mistakes. Don't put anything on an ATV that will inhibit you getting off of it.  Be aware that putting any amount of weight on top of one will move the center of gravity higher, making it easier to roll.

And, like WUDMAN, after getting me in a stokes basket and carried off the mountain, one of the guys uprighted my machine, started it right up, and drove it back to the truck.  He said that even the grass seeder wasn't damaged.  >:(
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Offline rebocardo

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Re: ATV Accidents
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2007, 01:09:04 PM »
Yea, I thought about an ATV before, more because two of my kids want to ride them, the more I read the less I think about it.

Offline Phorester

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Re: ATV Accidents
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2007, 10:13:01 PM »

RECARBO, more food for thought. 
There was an 11 year old boy crushed to death up the road from me in WV a few years ago when the ATV he was riding rolled over on him.  His young chest was not strong enough to support the weight like an adult chest is.

The next morning after my hip surgery from my accident, the partner of the surgeon who had done my surgery came in and sat down on the sofa in my hospital room. He was exhausted from all night surgery.  He finally looked up at me and said, you had a 4-wheeler accident, right?  Yep.  He then said he had been operating on the leg of a 9 year old boy who had taken the family ATV on a ride around the farm the evening before, not telling anybody about it.  He had rolled the ATV in a ditch and it had mangled his leg.  He laid there underneath it for 4 hours before he was finally found.  The surgeon said that he didn't know if they could save his leg or not.  I never did hear the outcome.

Another of our employees in SW Virginia had an accident 3 weeks before mine.  His ATV had got stuck in deep dust on a steep part of a skid trail on a logging job he was inspecting.  He got off it and tried to get it out himself.  It rolled backwards, trapping his leg underneath a front wheel and breaking it.  This guy was in his late 20's-early 30's at that time.  Probably 6'2", over 200 pounds. Young, strong and in good shape.  Raced ATV's professionally when he was younger.  A full size 4 wheeler weighs several hundred pounds.  As big as he is, he couldn't handle it.  Obviously, as long as it stays on its wheels, a kid will be okay.  But if it tips over or rolls, most adults can't handle that much weight, let alone a kid.
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Offline jpgreen

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Re: ATV Accidents
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2007, 10:45:17 AM »
I know of 3 grown men in my area now dead from roll or flip over ATV's. I won't get one, but I got a Rokon I'm restoring instead.  I figure it will be a heck of alot easier to dump a 2 wheel drive with me on it, specially since it's so low to the ground.

I'll post my findings..   :D
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Offline stonebroke

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Re: ATV Accidents
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2007, 10:55:11 AM »
The first 20,000 miles are the hardest.  Seriously, as a farmer I put on 30 miles a day on my four wheeler. The more you use it the more comfortable you get on it and the more you learn to respect it. In the woods you are more likely to be pushing the envelope. The problem is that the atv does not know when to stop, you control it. You have to look ahead at what is coming up and immediate problems also. That said I have dumped it more that a few times and the new heavy ones are nofun to get off of you. This reinforces the tendency to be more cautious next time. However onc you get one you will wonder how you ever did without one.

Stonebroke

Offline WDH

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Re: ATV Accidents
« Reply #15 on: June 21, 2007, 12:35:18 PM »
Most excellent heads-up Phorester.  Nothing like the voice of experience ::).  It seems that the machines are a lot tougher than the humans riding them from what I am reading here :-\.

I have a green tractor that has a ROPS that can hinge down so that it is below shoulder height.  Working with the tractor in the woods causes the ROPS to hang up on limbs and such, so I hinged it down.  Left it that way for more than a few years.  Well, my daughter is a member of an Agriclutural Sorority that held a Farm Safety Day for young FFA students in Middle and High School.  When she saw what I had done to undo the protection from the ROPS, she stood there with hands-on-hips and proceeded to give Daddy a good talking to........ smiley_furious3 hurt_smiley hurt_smiley hurt_smiley......I put the ROPS back up like it was supposed to be ::).
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Offline stonebroke

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Re: ATV Accidents
« Reply #16 on: June 21, 2007, 02:09:58 PM »
wdh   Do you  wear your seatbelt?   rops do not do any good if you are not in the seat.

Stonebroke

Offline WDH

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Re: ATV Accidents
« Reply #17 on: June 21, 2007, 04:06:52 PM »
Is that in the contract, too ::) smiley_contract smiley_hardhat2
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Offline tomboysawyer

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Re: ATV Accidents
« Reply #18 on: June 21, 2007, 04:24:09 PM »
I doubt they would be practical on rough terrain. This is a common problem with the so called 'buddy seats' as well. Two up atv's are illegal in the U.S so the seats are offered by after market manufacturers as a place for the driver to sit up and stretch out after riding.
Yea right ;D My buddy's kids, both over weight young adults, escaped serious injury when the machine flipped on a hill

Riding 2 up on an ATV is not illegal in the U.S. so long as the machine is designed for 2 up riding.

Interestingly enough, only one ATV manufacturer makes one and they make them up there in the great white north.

http://www.brp.com/en-US/Products/CanAm/Showroom/OutlanderMaxLE.htm

Offline rebocardo

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Re: ATV Accidents
« Reply #19 on: June 21, 2007, 06:06:06 PM »
Yea, I will probably stick to my little 4x4 trucks with a little metal around me. Though I do think about something like those 6x6 Argos from time to time.


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