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As of the middle of August there have been 16 people killed this year on ATV’s. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is concerned enough to issue a warning. "It’s hard to really draw conclusions on why they’re happening, other than the reckless operation of the ATVs themselves,” said Capt. Mike Hammer, DNR Safety Education coordinator. “ATV riding is very popular in Minnesota, but people are operating ATVs beyond their capability."

Six of the deaths have been due to rollovers. It is hoped that greater education and the publicity around these tragedies will remind all riders that these machines have a higher center of gravity which means there’s an increased risk for a rollover

In the past the Minnesota DNR has issues a number of tips:

  • ATVs are not toys and can be hazardous to operate. Supervise your youngster’s operation of the ATV at all times.
  • ATV operators less than 18 years old must wear an approved safety helmet, except when operating on private property. However to prevent head injuries, everyone should wear a helmet at all times.
  • An ATV handles differently from other vehicles. Even routine maneuvers, such as turning and driving on hills and over obstacles, can lead to serious injury if people fail to take proper precautions. With preparation and practice, operators can safely develop and expand their riding skills.
  • Youth need to “fit” the machine. A 60- to-120 pound youth and a 400-pound ATV are a mismatch.

With the number of deaths on an upward trend all riders are reminded to think safety first.

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