There is just something fun and exhilarating about riding in a side-by-side.  A little mud-flinging, adrenaline-producing ride in the field or woods can do wonders for our psyche. Part four-wheeler, part Jeep - with a little motorcycle-wind in-your-face vibe and the freedom of not being stuck to a pre-defined pathway – side-by-sides offer respite from the stressful world around us.

A recent crash reported by Internet personality Brianna Lapaglia with her beau, country superstar Zach Bryan, highlights the dangers of these all-terrain vehicles. In a recently posted Tiktok, Lapaglia recounts the harrowing experience of a recent side-by-side crash lamenting, “We were saying our goodbyes.”  The crash, which also caused her cat to scamper into the woods, was clearly traumatizing. During the video, Lapagalia recounts pulling pieces of glass from her face.

But – right at the beginning of the video – she stresses the most important part – “Thank God We Had Our Seatbelts On.” The crash could have been so much worse. Seatbelts save lives – not just in cars, trucks, and other on-the-road vehicles, but also in side-by-sides, golf carts, and other off-road vehicles.  Seat belts may be more important in these off-road vehicles since the protection provided by the vehicle is often much less than a traditional on-the-road vehicle and by their very nature – the terrain traversed is usually rougher and more apt to cause an ejection.

Significant injuries and deaths related to off-highway vehicles continue to rise.

The US Consumer Products Safety Commission reported 2,258 deaths for OHV usage between 2015-2017Consumer Federation of America reported 498 deaths related to off-highway vehicle use. CFA reported approximately 2/3 of these deaths occurred on highways.  Another major concern is almost 20% of these deaths involve children 15 and younger. The statistics indicate the most vulnerable populations are those under 16 (especially under 12) and those 55 and older. Overturns and collisions were the most common fatality causing hazard.

Throughout south-Louisiana, in neighborhoods from Luling and Bayou Gauche to Norco and Montz in St. Charles Parish, to Lockport and Mathews to Raceland and Thibodaux in Lafourche Parish, and Bayou Blue to Bayou Cane and Houma to Dularge in Terrebonne Parish, ATV and OHV usage is prevalent.  Riding through neighborhoods after school and on the weekends or holidays, one is sure to notice adults and kids driving these vehicles on the neighborhood streets and beyond. While OHV are supposed to be registered and inspected to drive on neighborhood streets, they are not as highly regulated as motor vehicles.

If you or a loved one suffers serious injury or death due to a side-by-side, ATV or OHV crash or incident, our team can help.

Loyd J. Bourgeois
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Accident, injury, and disability lawyer serving Luling, Metairie, New Orleans, and South Louisiana
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