The agency issued a “request for information” on Monday to learn the feasibility of prohibiting more than one person from riding an all-terrain vehicle (ATV). The notice will be published in the Federal Register on Tuesday.
“Since the 1980s, the CPSC has addressed ATV safety through various activities, including rulemaking, recalls, consumer education, media outreach following fatal incidents, and litigation,” Todd A. Stevenson, secretary of the CPSC wrote. “Despite these activities, ATV-related fatalities continue to be one of the largest categories of consumer product-related deaths. ATV safety, therefore, remains an ongoing Commission concern.”
“Accordingly, this request for information (RFI) seeks information from stakeholders related to passenger use of ATVs,” the agency said. “CPSC staff will use information gathered from this RFI to assist in developing recommended courses of action for Commission consideration as to whether a performance requirement to prevent passenger use of ATVs is appropriate.”
The notice will be open for public comment for 60 days. The CPSC is interested in learning how often passengers ride on ATVs and the weight, age, and gender of individuals involved in ATV accidents with more than one passenger.
“Where are passengers sitting or standing when riding ATVs?” the CPSC asks. “What, if any, data are available regarding why ATV drivers carry passengers and the reasons passengers ride ATVs?”
The ultimate result of the agency’s notice could be changing the way four wheelers and other ATVs are made to prevent two people from riding on them.
“Specifically, staff seeks information on the prevalence of passengers riding on ATVs and the feasibility of establishing a performance requirement that would prevent or reduce the likelihood of passengers riding on an ATV,” the notice said.
“For example, a performance requirement could prevent an ATV from being able to carry a passenger on a seat or cargo rack,” they said.
“Note, however, that any law or regulation aimed at changing consumer use of ATVs, such as a law to prohibit ATV use by passengers, would need to be addressed at the state level,” the CPSC added.
The government is issuing its notice due to safety concerns. The CPSC said passengers comprise roughly 25 percent of injured victims in ATV accidents. An average of 568 people are killed in ATV accidents each year, according to the CPSC.
Part of the CPSC’s safety campaign targeted at ATVs include graphics that say “It is NOT like riding a bicycle!” and a blood-stained list of safety tips, including never to ride without a helmet or with a passenger hanging on.
Another comic shows a biker who says, “No way, Bro!” to wearing safety gear and eye protection when going for a ride. In the next strip he’s seen bloody after riding through a brush patch, after which he concludes, “wimps are people who avoid wearing” protective gear.
Peter Horst, spokesperson for the American Motorcycle Association (AMA) and the All-Terrain Vehicle Association (ATVA), said a ban on all passenger ATVs is unnecessary and could hurt the industry.
“The appropriateness of carrying a passenger on an ATV is determined by the manufacturer’s design and related operating instructions,” Horst told the Washington Free Beacon. “Many ATV models are not designed for passenger use, however, some manufacturers do offer this option.”
“CSPC accident data suggests that passenger injuries are often the result of passengers being carried on ATVs that are not designed for passenger use,” he said. “The AMA urges its members to follow the operating recommendations of their ATV’s manufacturer.”
“A federal ban against carrying passengers on all ATVs—regardless of their design—would be over-reaching and unfortunate for the owners of ATVs designed by their manufacturer for use by an operator and a passenger,” Horst said.