Iowa’s Daily Register reported the death of 38-year-old Arthur John Rios, who died from injuries he sustained when his all-terrain vehicle rolled over last Thursday afternoon. According to investigators, Rios was driving a 2004 Polaris Sportsman 500 HD ATV north along a wooded trail just south of Eldorado at the time of the accident. The ATV apparently rolled off the trail and landed in the adjoining river.
Fayette County Sheriff’s officers and the Northeast Iowa Medical Transport arrived at the scene, where they found Rios had died of unspecified injuries.
Rios was a resident of West Union, a small town in northeastern corner of the state. The Daily Register described him as “an experienced outdoorsman who enjoyed hunting, fishing and ATV riding.” He leaves behind his wife Tina, his daughter Destiny, and three stepchildren.
At least 107 people died in Iowa last year in ATV rollovers and other accidents. 2009’s ATV death toll is expected to be significantly higher as the number of offroading injuries and fatalities escalates alongside their popularity. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which monitors ATV statistics in every state, Iowa had reported 112 ATV-related deaths in the entire period spanning 1982 to 2007.
ATVs are not only popular forms of recreation for outdoor enthusiasts; they are also used widely on American farms for traversing crops and other wide tracts of land and for hauling animals and equipment. Although some ATVs can reach speeds of up to 60 mph, some, such as the Yamaha Rhino, are criticized for their instability, even at low rates of speed and on flat surfaces.
When all safety precautions are followed, ATVs are still highly susceptible to accidents and should be handled with extreme caution.