Sportsman 500 HO DANGEROUS \"feature\"
Here is a copy of the letter that I just sent to the Polaris ATV company:
On Feb 18, 2001, 10 miles NW of Boulder Colorado, I witnessed the results of an ATV accident that DID NOT HAVE TO HAPPEN.
The rider was on a brand new Sportsman 500 HO, on his first ride. He attempted to climb a hill that was too steep and rolled the machine over. After the first incident he, as well as the machine, were relatively unharmed. Unfortunately, he then attempted to restart the machine, apparently using the "start in gear" override that I must assume this model has.
When the engine started, due to damage that was not noticed at first, the throttle was stuck in the full-open position. The results-- the rider can now be visited at a hospital somewhere in the Boulder area, as soon as he regains consciousness. He may never regain the use of his arms and legs.
Let me state this plain and simple:
If the rider would have been on the model Polaris that I own (a 2000 Xpedition 425), which CANNOT be started in gear and must be in neutral for the starter motor to turn over, he WOULD NOT BE IN THE HOSPITAL AT THIS MOMENT.
Whoever was responsible for making the decision to put a "start in gear override" on such a powerful machine as the Sportsman 500 HO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS PERSON'S INJURIES.
Please seriously consider removing this "feature" from your ATVs, especially the more powerful ones, before someone else gets hurt or killed!