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Sonora Man Killed in ATV Accident

ATV Tragedy in Sonora

On Tuesday afternoon, April 6, 2021, an 81-year old Sonora resident was killed in an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) accident that occurred on his property.  

Details of the Accident

According to the California Highway Patrol, the tragic incident took place shortly after 2 p.m., when the rider was traveling up a hill. Initial investigation revealed the ATV likely stalled, and then began to roll backward down the hill.  In response, the man attempted to turn the ATV, and shortly thereafter was ejected from the vehicle, and hit a tree. The moving vehicle then rolled over the victim, eventually coming to a rest on top of the 81-year-old. The man was not wearing a helmet, although, given the details of the accident, that may not have been a factor in his death.

Medical personnel responded to the scene.  The man, whose name has not yet been released, was pronounced dead shortly thereafter. 

Riding an ATV Up a Hill

Having an ATV roll backward on an uphill, such as in this terrible accident, is one of the worst-case scenarios in ATV riding. If that begins to happen, the driver should apply only the front brakes, and keep their weight toward the uphill. Applying the rear brakes in this scenario may cause the ATV to flip. If the rider is able to stop the vehicle, it should be dismounted from the uphill side. If the ATV continues to roll back, the driver should attempt an immediate dismount- again, toward the uphill side.

ATVs and Hill Safety

Northern California is home to an abundance of rolling hills. These hills can pose a significant risk for users of ATVs, as it is easier to lose control of the vehicle or make a maneuver that causes the vehicle to overturn. Below are some safety tips:

  • Know your limits. If the hill is too steep for your ability – pass on it.  There are plenty of hills that are too steep for an ATV operator of any ability. 
  • Look well ahead for landscape changes.
  • When approaching a hill, shift to a lower gear. This may prevent the ATV from jerking or stalling. Accelerate to gain enough momentum to climb the hill.
  • ATV riders should keep their feet firmly on the footrests at all times.
  • Be aware of how the ATV is operating up the hill – if it is lagging in power, make a U-turn and proceed back down the hill in a lower gear.
  • If the vehicle begins to lose forward momentum, brake, then apply the parking brake. Dismount the ATV on the uphill side.
  • When descending a hill on an ATV, look ahead and keep your weight shifted toward the uphill. Keep speed slow, and use a lower gear. Brake gradually.  Make sure the path is as free of obstacles as possible.
  • While it may seem that traversing a hill sideways rather than straight-up may be safer, it is actually just as dangerous.
  • Avoid operating the vehicle up a hill that has loose dirt, rough terrain, or is slippery.

Watch the YouTube video below for more ATV safety tips.

Personal Injury Lawyer in Sonora

Hello, I’m Ed Smith, a Sonora personal injury lawyer.  Tragic accidents occur every day in Northern California. When the incident results in a death, there is usually a grieving family left behind. Our compassionate and skilled wrongful death injury lawyers are available to dispense free and friendly legal advice over the phone. If we determine that we could help add value to your claim, we can then set up a no-obligation consultation at your convenience. Call us at (209) 227-1931 within the local area or (800) 404-5400, toll-free, from elsewhere.

Photo Attribution:

mm llo [cs 635]

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