The most current hands-on ATV safety program in Canada is being offered in Alberta through the Alberta Off-Highway Vehicle Association. The ATV RiderCourse has been developed by the Canadian AQCC Safety Institute (CASI), a division of the All-Terrain Quad Council of Canada (AQCC). The CASI ATV RiderCourse is supported and endorsed by the Canadian Off Highway Vehicle Distributors Council, and the program is also recognized by the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council, which works with all stakeholders to further a positive future for responsible OHV recreation.
David Marko, 34, is in his second year of instructing the course in Alberta. Marko, who is married with three children, understands well the importance of riders being trained in operating an ATV.
"The Alberta Off-Highway Vehicle Association strives to make things better for quadders and works hard to maintain our natural areas for quadding," said Marko. "They are maintained so (that) we don’t lose our trails because of people abusing the system. The association works hard putting in trails and bridges to keep younger generations able to go outdoors and explore on their ATVs."
Marko has been instructing the CASI ATV RiderCourse since July of 2011. He teaches out of the Westlock/Sundre area in Alberta. There are currently seven instructors in Alberta, but the program is very mobile.
Covering a lot of ground
The 4½-hour course is very concentrated and involves classroom instruction and then hands-on training. There are nine chapters in the course—which covers everything from ATV controls and how to shift properly to riding figure eights and handling turns. Safety is number 1 and instructors concentrate on teaching riders to ride to their machine's capabilities as well as to their own abilities.
"It's a great course," said Marko. "It is the only ATV rider course recognized by the Alberta Off-Highway Vehicle Association. It's standardized, so everyone that teaches it teaches the same thing. They stand behind the course and the guidelines we teach to everyone from age six to 99."
David Marko's ATV safety tip
The equipment and clothes you wear are crucial. You don't want to wear baggy clothes, you want to wear a long-sleeve shirt and tight-fitting clothing. Always ensure you have a proper fitting helmet, gloves and goggles. It is crucial. You also want to make sure you do an inspection of your machine before you take it out. Check brakes, make sure your lights work and always ensure you are riding to the capabilities of your machine.