ATVs, or all-terrain vehicles, can be quite thrilling to ride, but they also pose a serious danger, especially for kids.
Which is why it is so interesting that automaker Tesla has just released the Cyberquad for kids. The description on their site reads:
Inspired by our iconic Cybertruck design, the four-wheel ATV features a full steel frame, cushioned seat and adjustable suspension with rear disk braking and LED light bars. Powered by a lithium-ion battery with up to 15 miles of range and a configurable top speed of 10 mph, Cyberquad for Kids is suitable for anyone 8-years old and up.
That last statement seems to be far more opinion than fact, though. They’re touting the Cyberquad for Kids as the “least dangerous ATV” on the market — however, that product claim doesn’t say as much as you may think, since ATVs are inherently dangerous. In fact, they are some of the most dangerous children’s products on the market.
Basically, there’s nothing that can eliminate the danger of riding at ATV, no matter how advanced the technology is. That being said, there are some differences between Tesla’s Cyberquad and the majority of ATV’s out there on the market, and below we will detail them — as well as what you can do if you suffer injury using one.
ATVs in General: What Are They?
ATVs are all-terrain vehicles. They’re motorized conveyances that are meant to be used on dirt roads or when going off-road – they’re not meant to be used on paved roadways or highways.
These vehicles typically have four large tires and a seat. The drivers rides straddling the seat like a motorcycle as they grasp the handlebars. Manufacturers no longer make three-wheeled ATVs due to concerns about the dangers they pose and their overall lack of stability.
ATVs are heavy and powerful. A typical vehicle weighs over 600 pounds and can go up to 65 miles per hour. There are no seatbelts, roll bars, or safety cages on ATVs. Thus, if they tip over while riding due to their high center of gravity, riders can easily be thrown off and injured. There’s also the danger of the ATV rolling over onto the rider or passenger.
How Is Tesla’s Cyberquad Different?
In this regard, Tesla’s Cyberquad would seem to be safer — it has a maximum speed of 10 mph, and can be configured so that it only goes up to 5 mph. Moreover, it only weighs 122 lbs., far less than typical ATVs.
Even at those speeds and weights, however, they pose plenty of risks for children. Especially when you consider the fact that Tesla is marketing them as appropriate for kids as young as 8 and that the maximum weight of a rider can only be 150 lbs.
Should Children as Young as 8 Ride the Tesla Cyberquad or Other ATVs?
The American Academy of Pediatrics takes the stance that children under 16 shouldn’t be operating ATVs or other off-road vehicles. That’s because children are involved in around 30 percent of ATV accidents that end in emergency rooms.
They suffer injuries like fractures, damage to the pelvis and spine, concussions, burns, internal bleeding, traumatic brain injury, and even death.
The most common ATV accidents that lead to injury include:
- Overheated ATV that catches fire
- Driver being pinned under the ATV
- Driver or passenger ejection
A rollover is the most common ATV accident by far. It can be serious — and even deadly — for those involved.
As a new ATV that has just been released to market, only time will tell if Tesla’s Cyberquad is involved in similar types of accidents and injuries. But if the history of ATVs in general is any indication, parents may not want their children to be the test subjects.
If Injured on a Tesla Cyberquad, Can You Make a Product Liability Claim in Florida?
The short answer: maybe? In the state of Florida, defective products usually fall into one of two categories: product liability or negligence.
Product liability means that the product was defective. You must be able to show that the defects in the product were directly responsible for the accident.
If you or your child were injured while using a Tesla Cyberquad, then you may be able to seek compensation through Florida’s product liability laws. An experienced attorney can help you to pursue damages depending on who was at fault for the accident and the losses that were suffered.
The most common types of damages pursued in ATV accident cases and product liability cases include:
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Medical equipment
- Emotional distress
- Rehabilitation costs
- Loss of any future earnings
- Loss of income
- Short-term or long-term care costs
- Damage to property
If the Cyberquad was defective in some way that led to the accident, then you may be able to pursue a case against the manufacturer. In many cases, there may have been a design defect, manufacturing error, or a failure to warn of potential risks on the part of the manufacturer.
Can Tesla Be Held Responsible for a Cyberquad Accident?
Determining liability for an accident involving an ATV is important and can be quite complicated if multiple parties are involved. This could encompass manufacturers, rental companies, or property owners.
If a rental company fails to warn drivers or allows those intoxicated to knowingly control an all-terrain vehicle, they can be at fault. If the property owner didn’t keep up the property you were traversing, and large holes or inclines were responsible for the accident, then a case can be made against them.
Finally, if the ATV had any defective parts or there was a known defect in the design and it caused the accident, then the manufacturer can be held liable as well. In the case of the Cyberquad, this is interesting because Tesla developed it in partnership with Radio Flyer. Parsing out which company — or subsidiary — is responsible could prove to be quite complicated.
The bottom line is this: ATVs are fun, but they are undeniably dangerous — even Tesla’s new Cyberquad. You should think twice about letting a child under 16 operate one of these vehicles, and you should take all safety precautions possible to stay safe while you’re riding.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and named one of America’s Top 100 High-Stakes Litigators. Mr. Winston is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2021 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite,” recognized by Expertise as one of the 20 Best Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys, named one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015-2021, and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida for 2015-2017 and 2019-2021.