ATV safety often is an overlooked topic and with summer coming and the weather getting nicer, we thought we would put together some safety tips on how to stay safe while riding. Especially since we have firsthand experience with someone who was riding, thought they had covered all of the safety items, and still had an accident that ended in a broken bone, surgery, and 3 months of being out of work.
Here is a list of some very important safety rules and state laws:
- Wear Gear
Always wear safety gear. Helmets, goggles, boots, gloves – the works. There are no seatbelts on an ATV and flipping over is a lot easier than you might think. Be prepared and go home intact.
- Do a pre-ride inspection every time. Check the tires for wear and wheels for damage. Look over your controls and make sure connections and cables are intact. Check the chain for worn links, sprockets for broken teeth, and ensure there’s enough lubrication.
- Don’t Ride Alone
- Participating in any sport or activity where accidents can and do happen, it’s never a good idea to do it alone. Always have a riding buddy and better – have two. Running out of gas, getting lost or crashing is never any fun but it’s worse and can be life threatening if you’re alone. Besides, who wants to ride by themselves? Grab some friends and make a day of it.
- No Drinking and Riding
- Duh! It’s not safe in a car and it’s not safe on an ATV. It’s no secret – alcohol and drugs impair your judgment and your ability to ride safely. Don’t put yourself in jeopardy and don’t put others at risk for your risky behavior. Leave the beers for the evening when the gear is packed away.
- Tired? Stop Riding
- ATV riding is actually a great way to exercise. It demands strength and mental acuity. Overtime those bumps, jumps and tight corners wear down even the strongest people. If you can feel fatigue setting in, stop riding and take a break. Even if you don’t feel tired, if you’ve been riding all day, take a break, rehydrate and fuel up with some lunch.
- One Rider Only
- Unless you’re riding an ATV equipped for two-people, in which case you’re probably on a UTV and not screaming through trails, only one person on an ATV at a time. No piggy-backing or side riding.
- Ride on Designated Trails
- Don’t ride your ATV anywhere but a designated riding area. Not only is this for the safety of others and prevents unnecessary wear and tear to your machine, but it’s also being a good steward of the sport. Ride where it’s legal.
- Ride the Right ATV 9. Be Aware
- Know your surroundings. Since you’ve taken Tip #3 to heart, know where your riding partners are and look ahead just like driving a car so you can see what’s coming. Bumps are fun but when you hit one unexpectedly you can get bounced right off your ride. Look out for critters jumping out in front of your riding path and be cognizant of other riding parties.
- What’s the right ATV? As a general guide, only 90cc and larger engines for those 16 years and older. Don’t plop your 10 year old on a 250cc ATV
- No Goon Riding
- Three important state laws to remember:
- The tips above are obvious for a reason. Most, if not all, are practically unwritten rules in ATV world. Safety is always a priority and most rules factor in safety for you and others. Also, it’s a good idea to keep in mind the “house rules” when riding a track or designated ATV trails and knowing state rules like spark arrestors.
- Probably one of the top reason riders get hurt. Whether it’s showing off, trying to see what their ATV can do or just plain stupidity, don’t ride beyond your ability or perform stunts and tricks you have no business doing.
- All ATV’s must be titled and registered with owners receiving an off road vehicle use permit and ORV tag to place on their ATV, unless solely on agricultural lands owned or leased by the ATV owner or operator.
- ATV’s shall not be operated between dusk and dawn without a lighted taillight and headlight.
- No one under the age of 13 may operate an ATV on or across a highway or road except on a road designated for off-highway vehicle use under direct supervision of a person at least 18 who has a driver’s license.
For a complete list of ATV state laws please visit: https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/pdfs/blk_pdf_WashingtonLaw.pdf
Have fun, and stay safe!