When a Yamaha Rhino ATV accident occurs, there are many elements of the vehicle’s design which, unfortunately, can make the accident more severe. For example, if an ordinary vehicle overturns or rolls over, the passengers in the vehicle are somewhat protected by the vehicle’s shell. The Yamaha Rhino ATV, however, has an open cage design which makes it easy for body parts to emerge from the vehicle during operation, which can have tragic consequences if the vehicle begins to roll. Some Yamaha Rhino ATV accidents have been made more serious by efforts on the part of the driver or passengers to forestall tipping over or rolling over by trying to push the vehicle off of obstacles or the ground, leading to the loss of limbs or other terrible mutilations.
The Yamaha Rhino ATV has a high body and a narrow wheelbase, making it relatively easy for one of these vehicles to roll over. While a standard-sized ATV might be approximately 80” long and 48” tall, with a wheelbase of about 45”, the Rhino is somewhat longer at 113.5”, much taller at 73”, and only slightly wider, at 54.5”. The Rhino has a powerful liquid-cooled 660cc 5-valve engine, giving it a top speed of upwards of 50 miles per hour. At speeds like that, an accident or rollover involving a Yamaha Rhino ATV can have extremely serious consequences.
Unlike conventional ATVs, which have only one seat, the Yamaha Rhino ATV is known as a “side by side”, meaning that there are two seats together, one for the driver and one for a passenger. This creates the potential for more accidents, as the driver of an ATV is often very aware of what the vehicle will do next, while the passenger is not. Unwary passengers have been thrown from the vehicle, or have had their limbs damaged or even destroyed when they were not completely inside the Yamaha Rhino ATV’s roll cage.
The Yamaha Rhino ATV is not a purely recreational vehicle. The vehicle can carry a load of up to 400 pounds in its onboard cargo bed, and can tow as much as 1200 pounds in a rear-mounted trailer configuration. These capabilities add to the potential for accident, as loads can shift unexpectedly during operation. In addition, heavy cargo, particularly in the trailer (which carries more than half a ton), can fall on or collide with the main vehicle during an accident, or even cause an accident in and of itself. The Rhino itself weighs almost 1100 pounds empty, so in the event of an accident or rollover, the vehicle can crush its passengers beneath a very substantial weight.
Finally, while the Yamaha Rhino ATV does have a roll cage, the cage is in very close proximity to the heads of its passengers. Riders in vehicles of the Rhino’s class are not required by law to wear a helmet, and in a rollover situation it is easy for the roll cage itself to damage the occupants of the vehicle.
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