Background National estimates of all-terrain vehicle (ATV) riding patterns among youth in the USA are lacking.
Methods We analysed the 2011 YouthStyles survey to estimate the proportion of 12–17 year olds in the USA who had ridden an ATV at least once during the past 12 months and summarise their patterns of helmet use.
Results Of the 831 youth respondents, an estimated 25% reported riding an ATV at least once during the past year. The proportion of youth living outside of a Metropolitan Statistical Area who reported riding an ATV was twice that of those living inside of a Metropolitan Statistical Area. Males and females reported similar proportions of riding at least once during the past year, but among riders, the proportion of males who rode ≥6 times was triple that of females. Only 45% of riders reported always wearing a helmet, and 25% reported never wearing a helmet. The most frequent riders had the lowest consistent helmet use, with 8 of 10 youth who rode ≥6 times during the past year not always wearing a helmet.
Conclusions ATV riding appears to remain popular among youth in the USA, particularly in rural areas, and consistent helmet use while riding is low. A more thorough understanding of gender differences in ATV riding patterns among youth and perceived risks and benefits of both safe and unsafe riding practices might help inform future ATV injury prevention efforts.
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