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ATV Adventures: Balancing Thrills and Risks

ATVs, all-terrain vehicles, quads, bikes. Whatever you call a four-wheeler, the fact is that these machines are just as dangerous as they are fun.  I own lots of machines on my farm in South Frontenac. Each of my kids aged 4, 8, and 11 know how to drive an ATV, and my 2-year-old will learn in time. No matter how much you take care of your ATV, wear protective gear, and learn to drive safely, the fact is that accidents in the Kingston and Ottawa regions and Frontenac in between are increasingly common.



Fatal or catastrophic injury ATV accidents are not as common as fatal or catastrophic injury car accidents, but that is just because less people drive ATVs. The fact is that ATV accidents, much like a snowmobile or motorcycle accident, are more likely to result in fatal or catastrophic injuries than a car accident. Some of this is due to safety developments in cars such as crash avoidance systems, self-driving functions with AI (artificial intelligence), and of course because of airbags and seatbelts. However, the other reason that ATV and snowmobile and motorcycle accidents are so dangerous is because the occupants are not protected, are often travelling on uneven surfaces, and are not strapped in. Modern ATVs and snowmobiles also have the ability to exceed 100km, some machines by quite a bit, and so when crashes happen the results are often dramatic and tragic.

One of the most important things people can do is to ensure that they drive their ATVs safely. Secondly, people should ensure that their ATVs are insured under their automobile insurance policy. People often don’t know that an ATV is considered an automobile. Just as any automobile must be insured, any ATV not driven on the property of its owner also must be insured. An ATV driven on the property of the owner may be lawfully uninsured, but this means that if anyone suffers an injury (such as a visitor or first time user, or the owner or their family) then they will not have access to the insurance coverage they need.  Getting ATV coverage under your car insurance policy both for liability, property damage and accident benefits (SABS/AB) is easy and not very expensive, and in the event of a life altering fatality or catastrophic injury, the difference between having insurance and not, is everything. 



Warren Whiteknight_headshot_Personal Injury LawyerWarren WhiteKnight is a Lawyer and Partner at Bergeron Clifford LLP. He is based in the firm’s Kingston office but travels throughout Eastern Ontario each week as clients’ needs require. He holds a Certified Civil Litigation Specialist designation by Law Society of Ontario.

Warren is a Queen’s Law graduate where he achieved top 10% standing all three years, and received numerous course prizes and scholarships. He has been the Past President of the Frontenac Law Association.

Warren regularly represents his clients in court and tribunal proceedings and has an excellent track record of achieving results both in court and in out of court settlements.

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