The dangers of ATVs in Detroit: What police are doing to prevent injuries on city streets

Children involved in 30% of ATV-related deaths, injuries

All-terrain vehicles (ATV) are meant to be used on dirt roads, not on city streets or highways.

DETROIT – All-terrain vehicles (ATV) are meant to be used on dirt roads, not on city streets or highways.

They come with major safety risks, especially for young people. That is why Detroit police are cracking down on the use of ATVs in the city.

The American Academy of Pediatrics said children are involved in 30% of all ATV-related deaths and emergency room injuries.

Local 4 photographers caught lots of people out near Campus Martius enjoying their ATVs.

Paul Stewart has lived in a house in the Brightmoore Neighborhood for more than 35 years. It’s one of several neighborhoods that sees ATV riders.

“Sometimes they will take the muffler off to get more speed and it will mess your ears up,” Stewart said.

People riding ATVs in Detroit. (WDIV)

ATVs not designed for public roads

ATVs aren’t designed for public roads. They don’t come with safety features like brake lights or turn signals.

They’re supposed to be used only for off-road entertainment, but they’re not.

Video from last May shows a driver intentionally slamming an ATV into a Detroit police car. The incident sparked a police chase.

Watch: Video shows man intentionally slamming ATV into Detroit police car

ATVs can weigh more than 600 pounds and have large, powerful engines. They often reach speeds of 65 miles per hour. They have a high center of gravity and no roll bars, safety cages or seat belts. They can also tip easily, throwing riders and passengers off.

Detroit Real-Time Crime Center. (WDIV)

Michigan one of the top states for ATV-related deaths

Michigan is one of the top states for ATV-related deaths, usually caused by head injuries. That’s according to the latest data from Children’s Hospital of Michigan.

Detroit police Deputy Chief Franklin Hayes said the department saw a spike in illegal ATV use this time last year.

That’s why police put a three-point plan in place to try to tackle the problem. Part of the approach is catching riders on the ground.

The second part is using the Detroit Real-Time Crime Center coupled with eyes in the sky.

The state with the highest number of ATV deaths is Texas.

Read: More ATV-related coverage


About the Authors:

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.