From twisting trails to desert dunes, millions of Americans will celebrate the onset of summer by swinging a leg over their ATVs for the first time this year. With more than 35 million riders operating more than 10 million ATVs across the U.S., understanding the importance of safe and responsible riding techniques is essential. Both riders and non-riders can benefit from knowing the fundamentals to keep themselves, their friends and their families as safe as possible.
The ATV Safety Institute urges all riders to follow the warning labels on each vehicle and never ride on public roads or under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. You should also refrain from carrying a passenger on a single-rider ATV. Of course, riders should always wear a helmet and other protective gear. Young riders, who often have more time to ride in the summer due to free time away from school, are especially vulnerable to certain types of crashes when not following proper safety rules. Nearly 90 percent of youth ATV-related injuries occur when a youth is operating an adult-sized ATV. Parents should supervise children under the age of 16 at all times while they are operating an ATV. Equally important, parents should manage when the vehicle can be used by controlling the ignition key. By controlling the means to start the ATV, parents are literally holding the key to their child’s safety. Consumer Product Safety Commission data show that 92 percent of all ATV-related fatalities are the result of warned-against behaviors.
The ATV Safety Institute has eight Golden Rules of ATV safety:
1. Always wear a helmet and other protective gear.
2. Never ride on public roads; another vehicle could hit you.
3. Never ride under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
4. Never carry a passenger on a single-rider vehicle.
5. Ride an ATV that’s right for your age.
6. Supervise riders younger than 16; ATVs are not toys.
7. Ride only on designated trails at a safe speed.
8. Take an ATV RiderCourse.
Image credit: Demarcus Romero
Driving Today is an independent editorial program edited by Jack R. Nerad and brought to you by Bridgestone/Firestone.