You’ve probably heard about the hundreds of lawsuits Yamaha is facing over its Rhino side-by-side ATV. Well, the first case, Johnny Ray vs. Yamaha Motor Co. just concluded in Yamaha’s favor, potentially setting a precedent for the rest.
Like bikes, ATVs are dangerous and are even more so if you’re stupid.
Despite prominent warnings not to operate the vehicle on-road, to wear
a helmet and to use the fitted seatbelts, hundreds of people have
decided it was Yamaha’s fault that they or their loved ones didn’t
bother to do any of the above and are suing the manufacturer for
In this case, heard in the Orange County, Texas District Court, Jurors
heard the story of 13-year-old Forest Ray who was killed when his Rhino
rolled while driving off grass and onto pavement. Ray wasn’t wearing
his seatbelt or his helmet and had his skull crushed under the weight
of the vehicle. His parents argued that, had the Yamaha Rhino been
fitted with rear differential gears, it may not have rolled as it
entered the road.
Treating the trial as a test case, Yamaha brought in engineers from
Japan, who argued that the Rhino was designated an “exclusively
off-road vehicle” and as such, rear differential gears would have been
more a “demerit” to safety in its intended use.