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Summer Safety for Your ATV

The most important thing to remember with ATV and UTV's is that they are not cars. If anything, they are more like motorcycles and should be treated as such in terms of safe practices while riding. It can be dangerous in a number of ways, and smart riders will be prepared for the potential hazards uniquely posed by ATV riding.

Gear

Always, always, always wear gear. Most UTV and ATV's do not have seatbelts, and we need to make up for this lack (and the usually open top construction) by wearing padding - including:

  • helmet
  • goggles
  • boots
  • gloves

Inspection

Even if you rode your ATV yesterday, do at least a top 5 check. Check:

  • tires and rims for wear or damage
  • intact connections and cables
  • links in chains
  • sprockets in gears
  • lubricant levels

Damage or wear can happen at any point - we push our machines hard and sometimes they push back quicker than we may anticipate.

Bring a Buddy

No matter how seasoned the rider or how familiar you are with the trails, if you plan on being out on the trails, bring someone out with you. Everyone runs out of gas or gets turned around the odd once in a while. Reduce the chances of getting stranded, and make a day of riding with some buddies.

That being said, each person should have their own machine or should have a machine designed to carry more than one person. Follow the safety protocols outlined up-front by the manufacturer when they determine vehicle capacity.

Be Smart

This covers a lot of ground, and for an ATV rider that generally means one of two things:

  • don't try and pull stupid tricks on your machine to impress your friends (and end up rolling your ATV)
  • be aware of what's going on around you: potential vehicle traffic, what's ahead on the trail, where your riding buddies are - so that you don't get caught unawares.

Keeping these safety tips in mind will keep you out and riding your ATV safely this summer!

Photo by Joe Neric

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