Whether you use your all-terrain vehicle as a tool to get around or a recreational vehicle, safety should be your first focus.
John Meed is the General Manager of the Saskatchewan ATV Association. He recommends everyone to start off the season with safety in mind, "Do a little safety check on your machine before you start the season. Check your tire pressure, check to make sure the wheel nuts are tight and everything is good for the season."
Meed also said that riders should always wear the right gear while on an ATV:
- DOT or CSA approved Helmet
- Safety Glasses or Goggles
- Gloves and Boots can be worn to prevent injuries from branches
If kids are also going to ride an ATV, Meed said they should be on a machine suited to their size, "It has come up occasional where very young people or children are on an adult sized quad. We've had some tragedies and accidents. A six or seven year old, they should not be on an adult sized quad. They should be on one that is suited for them so they can properly maneuver, get training and understand how it operates."
ATVs designed for one rider should only ever have one rider. Single person ATVs are designed with a specific centre of gravity and a passenger can offset that balance. There are other types of ATVs designed for two riders.
Most accidents involving an ATV are rollovers according to Meed, "Rollovers are a big one. That's about maneuvering and knowing your machine, knowing what happens if you have to avoid something or have to make a hard turn. Do you know how to shift your body weight properly?" Meed also noted that alcohol has been a factor in many accidents, "No drinking and riding. ATVs have a little bit different dynamic to them, you're going over rough terrain, climbing hills, going down hills. Impairment isn't right for any motorized vehicle and ATVs, you really need to be aware of what's going on."