All Terrain Vehicles, (including side by sides) are specifically designed for off road use and provide a rewarding recreational experience and provide a valuable tool for those that use them for work(including farming). However ATV’s have a different dynamic than any other vehicle and if not operated properly can lead to serious injury or death. In Saskatchewan in 2013 there were 8 ATV related fatalities and 47 people were injured in ATV crashes. ATV Safety can mean the difference between a nice ride or work day and spending days in the hospital, or more serious consequences.
Following these guidelines will ensure that you make it home safe and sound;
1. Wear the gear. Saskatchewan law requires that all ATV riders (including passengers) wear a helmet and goggles (if the helmet doesn’t have a face screen) on public property or on property that the rider does not own. This includes side by sides. Roll cages are not fool proof and in a roll over the drivers head can come in contact with the roll cage or other part of the side by side resulting in serious head injuries.
2. Do not allow passengers unless the ATV is designed to carry a passenger. Single person ATV’s are designed with a specific centre of gravity and adding a passenger can create a dangerous imbalance in the ATV, especially when climbing or maneuvering around obstacles.
3. The Right ATV – this is especially true for children. ATV’s will have warning labels which advises what minimum age is appropriate for riding that ATV. Placing a child or small person on an ATV that is too large or powerful for them to handle can have dire consequences.
4. Get Trained – it’s important that riders know how to ride their ATV properly. If the rider is 12 to 15 years old or does not have a driver’s license they must take an approved safety course. However all riders can benefit from the training.
5. Ride with a Buddy/Group – at the very least make sure someone knows where you are and when you are expected back. Riding with friends or a group makes for a more enjoyable experience, and provides additional security in knowing that someone else is there should there be a mishap.
6. Know your Limits – attempting advanced or tricky maneuvers, without the proper experience and training, can lead to crashes, and resulting injuries.
Check out the links below for more information on training and safety information;
– Online registration for ATV Safety Training
– safety information regarding children and off road vehicles.