The Yamaha Rhino all-terrain vehicle (ATV) has been the corporation’s top selling ATV since it was introduced in 2003. The side-by-side passenger seating configuration and the area in back for cargo separate this ATV from many other standard ATVs. Yet, almost since its introduction, this vehicle has been controversial. This is due to the number of injuries and deaths over the last five years as a result of the Rhino’s design. There are basically two design flaws with the Rhino ATV:
- Prone to rollovers due to the narrowness of the wheel-base and the high center of gravity of the vehicle. If the driver takes a corner too sharply, even at low speeds, the chances of the Rhino rolling over are high.
- The lack of doors or any type of barrier to prevent injuries to arms, legs, ankles and feet in the event of a rollover has been the principle concern, even though Yamaha began adding half-doors after 2008. The problem continues as the doors may come unlatched. Prior to 2008, doors could be installed as an added accessory.
People have the natural tendency to extend their arms or legs if they are about to fall. When the Rhino rolls over, these extremities have been crushed. The result is a long recuperation or amputation. There have even been cases where the ATV rolls over on the passenger or driver crushing them to death. Those who have lost their lives the most are children.
While the Rhino owner’s manual states that occupants should wear a helmet and seatbelts, there is no mention of a possible danger of rollover, or other problems. The models mostly affected include the Yamaha Rhino 450 and Yamaha Rhino 650.
While there have been a number of recorded injuries and deaths due to the design of the Rhino, Yamaha did not issue a recall for this. Instead, Yamaha recalled 7,800 vehicles due to leaking brake fluid. The left-hand front wheel’s brake caliper was replaced on these recalled units. The vehicles issued a recall are:
- 2008 Yamaha Rhino 450 (YXR45FX, YXR45FHX, and YXR45FSPX)
- 2008 Yamaha Rhino YXR700 (YXR70FX, YXR70FDUX, YXR70FHX, YXR70FSEPX/FSP2X, and YXR70FSPX
The models that have a tendency to rollover are still on the market, and Yamaha has taken no steps to correct the design defects that are to blame for injury and death. Yamaha believes their vehicle to be safe, but many critics believe the Rhino ATV to be one of the least safe vehicles being sold to consumers.