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Study: ATV Accidents Deadlier than Motorcycles

By Jason Beahm | Last updated on

A new report has come out that comes to a somewhat surprising conclusion: when it comes wheels on vehicles, two is better than four.

According to the study, presented at the 2010 Annual Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons, riders of all-terrain vehicles (ATV) are far more likely to die or suffer serious trauma than motorcyclists after an accident. According to researchers from Johns Hopkins Center for Surgery Trials and Outcomes Research, while the initial injuries was similar for both groups, those injured on ATV suffered far worse fates. ATV riders were 50 percent more likely to die due to their injuries, as well as 50 percent more likely to require intensive care and artificial ventilation.

Part of the problem is that that those in ATV accidents wear helmets less often, about 30% vs. 60% for motorcylcles, according to the study. However, the difference in injuries cannot be explained by helmet use, according to said trauma surgeon, Adil Haider, MD, MPH, FACS, who is an assistant professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Haider explained that even when both types of patients were wearing helmets, the person on the ATV fared far worse than their counterpart on a motorcycle. The reasons are unknown and require further study, but Haider hypothesized that it could be that ATV accidents cause greater energy transfer than a motorcycle accident.

Overall, the findings of the study carry one main message, an ATV may be suitable for teenagers, but they are not appropriate for young children. "Parents may think that ATVs are less dangerous than motorcycles because they have four wheels. But they should know that ATVs not only are not safer..." Dr. Haider said.

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