With summer finally here, everyone’s attention turns to the great outdoors. After a year spent mostly indoors, the ideal summer activity has to be three things: exciting, adventurous and outdoors. ATVing ticks all three boxes. You get the adrenaline rush of ripping around on four wheels. But you also enjoy the fresh air, sunshine and scenic views of a day out in nature.
If you aren’t yet a seasoned ATV pro, don’t sweat it. You can still join the fun by observing a few essential safety tips. Whether you buy your ATV new or used, you should follow a few straightforward instructions before your first ride.
Here are five safety tips to get you started.
Know the Local Requirements
Every locale is different when it comes to ATV regulations and requirements. Some places permit anyone over the age of 12 to ride (with parental supervision), while others set an older age requirement. Some states or provinces circumscribe access, dictating where you can and cannot ride your ATV. Others require a basic license level. Every single jurisdiction is clear on prohibiting reckless driving, including driving under the influence.
To find out local requirements, type “ATV requirements” and then your region into Google.
Service Your ATV after a Season in Storage
If your ATV has spent the winter hibernating indoors, take it into your local ATV servicing shop for inspection. Have them check the tires, fluid levels, belt and more. It’s better to err on the side of caution than to wind up stuck in the middle of nowhere with a failed ATV.
Often, ATV shops will stock seasonal ATV parts for sale – new tires, dash rocker switch kits, fuel packs, etc. Stock up on everything you need to ride safely for the summer. If in doubt, ask someone at the shop.
Invest in Quality Safety Gear
When you’re at your local ATV shop, explore their safety gear. If you are new to ATVing (or if your gear is getting long in the tooth), consider investing in quality gloves and pads, as well as a jersey and helmet. In particular, the helmet should be high quality.
Consider a Training Course
While not required in many places, a training course is still recommended by most ATV experts. It is possible to pick it up by yourself, but the learning curve is steep. With only so many months in the summer, it’s better to hit the ground informed and confident on your ATV. Consider booking a local training course for beginners (or a refresher course for intermediate riders) before you head off-road.
Always Practice Common Sense
Don’t speed. Don’t take unsafe declines with steep switchbacks (especially if you are new to ATVing). And, whatever you do, do not mix a perfectly good day on the ATV with alcohol. Riding your ATV is fun; crashing your ATV is not fun.
With some common sense, the help of a professional ATV shop and a quick training course, you can ATV with confidence this summer.