ATV trail riding is a fun and exciting sport providing hours of entertainment for the whole family. There is nothing like a good day on the trails, out in the sun and wind, to bring the family together, to meet up with friends, or to make new ones. But, ATV trail riding isn’t all fun and games; the sport includes many safety precautions. While you’re having fun, you still have to remember you are working with a motorized vehicle. Although ATVs are for recreation, they need to be treated with the same respect and caution you would use with a car or a motorcycle. For this reason, before you hop on that brand new ATV and hit the trails, you might want to consider taking an ATV safety training course.
Unlike a car or motorcycle, riding an ATV does not require a license. Many people learn how to ride from older siblings, parents or friends. While learning from friends or family isn’t a bad idea overall, there might be some finer points to driving ATV’s that your family or friends might have left out.
Not all ATV safety courses have certified trainers. The ATV Safety Institute (ASI), a non-profit organization founded in 1988, provides a course that educates riders about the safe operation of their vehicles. The intent of the course is the reduction of the number of accidents and injuries on the ATV trails after students complete the course. The idea seems to work; since 1984, the number of accidents involving ATV riding reduced.
When you purchase your ATV, most of the manufacturers such as Honda, Arctic Cat, Yamaha and others offer you the opportunity to take the ATV safety course free of charge. If you don’t own an ATV and are considering buying one for yourself or a family member, you may still take the course for a small fee. As with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation where the course provides the motorcycle, some ASI courses might include the use of ATV’s donated either by manufacturers, local motor sports shops, or private donors. Check with your instructors first to find out if you need your own ATV or not.
An ASI course will take you through all the basics of operating and riding an ATV and only takes half a day to complete. Certified instructors teach you step by step each required skill in a controlled environment. You begin with the use of proper safety equipment and how to start and stop your vehicle properly.
Later on, you move up to climbing up and down hills and over and around obstacles on a closed course. Each lesson builds on the previous one, becoming more of a challenge as the course progresses.