ATV accidents prompt officials to offer safety tips

MARINETTTE COUNTY – In the last two days there have been two ATV accidents in Marinette County.

The first was Friday night in Middle Inlet. The DNR says a 49-year-old man hit a pile of dirt and went airborne.

Officials say his injuries were so severe he had to be flown to the hospital. He wasn’t wearing a helmet.

The second accident happened in the Crivitz area.

The DNR says two teenage girls hit a mud hole on the trail, lost control, and were ejected from their A-T-V.

One of the girls suffered serious injuries. Officials say the teens were wearing helmets.

So what do you need to know to stay safe while riding?

Scott Anderson’s been working at Cabela’s in Ashwaubenon for a year now.

He says customers come in all the time looking for ATV safety gear.

But there’s one thing Anderson always recommends.

“First and foremost the helmet. [You] always want that. A good quality helmet is very important,” said Anderson.

The DNR conservation warden for Marinette County agrees.

“You take a hard hit to your head, that’s going to basically be life threatening at that point. If something happens were you do fall off the ATV, or you hit something, that’s basically like your seatbelt,” said David Oginski, conservation warden.

Oginski says pile on the safety gear.

“The other important thing is making sure you’re wearing gloves, high boots, something over the ankle, pants, long sleeve shirt. The more gear you can put on to basically keep yourself protected, the better off you are,” Oginski said.

He adds, you should always let someone know where you’re going, bring a GPS or cell phone so you know where you’re traveling, and pay attention to the last road or intersection you cross.

Oginski says the ATV accidents he covered over the weekend both happened at night.

The 49-year-old man involved in Friday’s accident was riding near a construction zone.

“We’re still in the investigation stage of the accident. All we know is that he was traveling down the roadway and basically hit the dirt. That’s kind of why it’s important to make sure that, especially at night, ATVs don’t have the best headlights. Make sure you’re not overriding your headlights and you’re able to see the obstacles that are ahead of you.” Oginski said.

This year, the DNR says, there have been 10 fatal ATV and UTV accidents in the state.

Of those 10 fatal accidents only one rider was wearing a helmet.

Last year 22 people died from ATV and UTV accidents in Wisconsin.

The top two causes of those accidents were speed and alcohol.

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