ATV Mishaps!

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Most ATV mishaps don’t just happen; they need a little help from the rider. Here are some memorable ATV accidents that occurred during past trail rides.

ATV Mishaps

It was January, near Carson City, Nevada and near zero degrees cold. Several friends and I were out for an ATV ride in the foothills southeast of town, having fun riding in about eight inches of fresh snow. This particular ride, I lent my Honda Big Red three-wheeler to a teenager who I was told was an experienced rider. The rest of us were on 4x4 quads.

During the ride, it was decided to ride down toward the Carson River and take advantage of some of the neat trails in that area. The river was low and mostly frozen over, so we told the kids with us to stay off the ice. Well, the kid riding my three-wheeler thought that he would do a quick donut maneuver on the ice near the shore. Kids and thin ice are prime for ATV mishaps, as you will see.

Man thru ice

About half way through the maneuver, the mishap caused the ATV to fall through the ice, dunking the kid in about four feet of icy cold water.

The ATV bobbed about, half submerged, while the kid scrambled to shore. I was so mad, that I made him go back to retrieve the bike before helping him out of the water. That caused only about a 10 second delay in getting him on shore. The rest of us wrestled the 3-wheeler back up on the bank, too.

Now we had to make a decision about what to do to keep the kid from freezing to death. The nearest ranch house was across the river, so that wasn’t an option and our vehicles were almost three miles away, too far! So, we made the decision to build a fire and strip the kid of his clothes and try to dry them off. One of us gave the naked kid long underwear and a pair of socks to wear while the bonfire dried out his clothes and boots.

Meanwhile, we had to deal with the drowned 3-wheeler. No water had leaked into the fuel tank, just in the carburetor and oil. We always carried tools, so we drained the water as best as we could, dried the spark plug and, by taking turns, pulling on the rope start. We finally got the bike started and running pretty well. There was no other damage that we could see.

After about two hours, the kid’s clothes and boots were dry, so we drove back to our vehicles, loaded up and went home. We had our share of ATV mishaps for the day.

Rear Ended!
My son and I were out 4-wheeling behind my house on a narrow jeep trail when we met an ATV coming at us. He stopped while we figured how one of us could pull far enough of the road so the other could pass. In the meantime, the man’s wife came around the corner behind him and smashed squarely into the rear of his Polaris 800. This is how ATV mishaps can occur.

Pieces went flying when her Suzuki Eiger dove under his rear rack, lifting his rear end off the ground. It all happened very quickly and we were all shocked at what we had just seen. We walked over to see if anyone was hurt. They were ok, but the bikes weren’t. The mishap made the shift lever unable to go into gear because the wreck had shoved her front rack and fenders back about four inches up against the shift lever.

We finally managed to get her bike into a forward gear so she could eventually move. The man’s bike was in bad shape, too! His right rear shock was broken off and jammed hard against the right rear tire by the shock spring.

Damaged Polaris 800

We had to somehow move that heavy duty spring away from the tire so he could drive. As I stood there looking at the front end of the ladys' bike, I saw her Warn winch.

I suggested that we drag her bike around to the left rear of his bike and use the winch to pull the spring away from the tire. We did and it worked like a charm. My son had a heavy-duty rubber bungee that we used to tie the spring and shock away from the tire. Both ATVs were able to ride away at about 5 mph for their 12-mile journey back to civilization. Fortunately, for this ATV mishap there was nothing wrong with these two bikes that a few thousand dollars in repairs and new parts couldn’t take of.

Not Paying Attention
One day, I was riding my Honda Fourtrax over Sunrise Pass Road enroute to Wellington, Nevada located in Smith Valley, about a 40-mile roundtrip. While traveling down a long straight stretch of the dirt road about 25 mph, I was admiring the scenery and not paying attention (asking for a mishap). All of a sudden, I ran off the road into a drainage cut. Stupidly, I hit my brakes and could immediately feel the back end of the bike come off the ground. I was being catapulted off the bike as the front brakes grabbed attempting to flip the ATV.

The next thing I knew, I was flying through the air, head first. I hit the ground on my hands and knees before rolling to a stop. My hands and knees were scraped and bleeding, and I was somewhat dazed with bumps and bruises all over. Incredibly, the bike fell back on all four wheels without any damage. In a lot pain, I mounted the still running bike and slowly drove back home to lick my wounds and think about how such ATV mishaps happen.

Bad Move
My girlfriend and I were chukar hunting near Virginia City, Nevada on my Honda Big Red 3-wheeler. The terrain was rocky and steep in places, and as we rode up a steep rocky trail, I slowed down to maneuver around a large rock. When I applied throttle to continue uphill, the front wheel leaped off the ground, shooting the 3-wheeler straight up in the air.

3-wheeler ATV

My girlfriend fell off the back and I fell on top of her. As I lay there on my back, I saw the ATV upside down, about to fall right on top of us. All I could do was kick the seat with my right foot, shoving the bike to the side. In doing so, my right shoulder, which was resting on top of a large rock, was badly injured.

As a result of the mishap, all in all the ATV wasn’t too badly hurt, my girlfriend suffered some moderate cuts and bruises. My shotgun, in a hard case, was ok. I had a hard time righting the ATV with my bad shoulder. Finally, we were able to get the bike upright and turned around to limp home. This is a good reminder of how riding double and not paying attention invites ATV mishaps

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