Health: Learning to properly operate an ATV could save your life

By Debbie Bell/Health Department, Published:

While All-Terrain Vehicle Week ends today, the message from the All-Terrain Vehicle Safety Institute remains timeless.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 92 percent of all ATV-related fatalities are the result of warned-against behaviors, such as youth riding on adult-sized ATVs. Experts recommend children under 16 should never ride an adult-sized ATV.

If you operate an ATV, take some time to learn about the proper operation of your machine, find out about helmets and other proper protective gear, and learn ways to dramatically reduce risk for you, your family and friends.

Experience counts when operating an ATV. All new riders are strongly encouraged to take a training course, which will provide information regarding the proper gear to wear, skills for riding your ATV on different terrains and essential life-saving techniques which include not riding on paved roads, not riding at night and not riding tandem on a 1-Up ATV. 

Partners all across the country have volunteered to provide ATV Rider Course training and other ATV safety educational opportunities. To see the most current list of participating training locations, visit 

The RiderCourse is also free year-round for anyone who has purchased a new, qualifying ATV from an ATV Safety Institute member company. The ASI offers easy enrollment at 800-887-2887, or at the website.

ASI also offers a free E-Course, available online 24/7. This online course is available in three age-specific courses for adults, teens and children. Students learn how to apply the “golden rules” of ATV riding in an interactive setting.

The E-Course includes videos, pictures and interactive games to make it a fun and effective learning experience for all ages. After taking the course, users can take an ATV safety exam and receive a certificate of completion.

Golden Rules

>Always wear a Department of Transportation-compliant helmet, goggles, long sleeves, long pants, over-the-ankle boots and gloves.

>Never ride on paved roads except to cross when done safely and permitted by law-another vehicle could hit you. ATVs are designed to be operated off-highway.

>Never ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

>Never carry a passenger on a single-rider ATV and no more than one passenger on an ATV designed for two people.

>Ride an ATV that’s right for your age.

>Supervise riders younger than 16.

>Ride only on designated trails at a safe speed.

>Take a hands-on ATV Rider Course and the free online E-Course.

So remember, the ASI develops rider-training programs and promotes the safe and responsible use of ATVs. The ASI works to reduce crashes and injuries resulting from improper ATV use. Formed in 1988, the ASI is a not-for-profit division of the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America sponsored by Arctic Cat, BRP, Honda, Kawasaki, KYMCO, Polaris, Suzuki and Yamaha.  

Debbie Bell is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator at the Franklin County Health Department, 851 East-West Connector.

Source: ATV Safety Institute, Media Relations (949) 727-3727, ext. 3091

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