WEDNESDAY, Oct. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Off-road motorcycles are
safer than four-wheeled all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) in riding and
racing crashes on trails, sand dunes and other rough terrain, a
new, large-scale study shows.
In findings that may surprise racing enthusiasts and even safety
experts, Johns Hopkins researchers found that victims of ATV
crashes were 50 percent more likely to die of their off-road
injuries than similarly injured motorcyclists.
In addition, ATV riders were 55 percent more likely to be
admitted to an intensive care unit and 42 percent more likely to be
placed on a ventilator.
The findings emerged from Johns Hopkins researchers' review of
data on 60,000 patients who were injured in an off-road motorcycle
or ATV crash between 2002 and 2006.
"There's a belief that four wheels must be safer than two," Cassandra Villegas, a researcher fellow at the Johns Hopkins Center for Surgery Trials and Outcomes, said in a Hopkins news release. "But we found the opposite. People involved in ATV crashes are more likely to die or suffer serious trauma."
The study was to be presented this week at a meeting of the
American College of Surgeons in Washington D.C.
It's not clear why ATV crashes result in more severe injuries
and increased risk of death, but the researchers suggested some
possible factors. All-terrain vehicle riders may wear less
protective clothing than off-road motorcyclists. Also, ATVs are
much heavier than off-road motorcycles and can cause severe crush
injuries when they land on top of crash victims.
The number of injuries in the United States involving ATVs or
off-road motorcycles increased from 92,200 in 2000 to 150,900 in
2007, according to Villegas.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission offers
ATV safety tips.