As you know, riding an ATV is fun, no wait, it’s a lot of fun. Of course you know that safety is one of the biggest concerns for ATV riders, but another concern that we should never forget about is the potential dangerous effects that riding can have on the environment. It’s important to be respectful at all times while riding-respect the potential dangers of the ride, respect other riders, and respect the lands and trails on which you ride.
It’s important to stay on marked trails, and resist the urge to pioneer a new trail. Many ATV trails are strategically well maintained-only allowing riders on one area of a trail, and occasionally closing the trail, and opening a new area. This trail rotation is done to allow the land/trail to heal itself naturally, and provide good trails on a long term basis.
You must learn proper ATV handling techniques to handle some of the terrain you will see. Many riders that don’t have a lot of experience can tear up the land when trying to navigate hills, or crossing streams and creeks. Often these inappropriate techniques are also safety hazards. For example some inexperienced riders try to tackle hills by going sideways, which can damage the land, but also puts you in danger of having your vehicle tip over.
Many tips and suggestions are common sense, but they can’t be emphasized enough:
- Only ride in areas open to ATVs.
- Drive over obstacles (slowly), to prevent widening the trail, and perhaps causing damage to the land.
- Cross streams and creeks only at spots that are marked
- Avoid muddy trails. If you cannot avoid muddy sections-don’t go around them, drive through them carefully so your wheels aren’t spinning and tearing up the earth.
- Always comply with posted signs
- Always ride with at least one other person
These are good starting points for beginners. Remember that ATV safety recommendations are not just for people, but also in place for the environment. Enjoy your riding season-be safe, be smart, and have fun.