When summer rolls around, there’s nothing quite like hopping on your ATV and embarking on an epic off-roading adventure. In Saskatchewan, there is no shortage of ATV trails to explore, from the Esterhazy Trails to Narrow Hills Provincial Park to the Fort a la Corne area.
Amidst the excitement of once again facing the open road, ATV safety can sometimes get lost in the shuffle for some riders. During ATV Safety Week (June 2 to 11, 2017), the Saskatchewan All-Terrain Vehicle Association (SATVA) is unveiling a new safety campaign reminding ATVers to follow two important safety rules this season: Ride Safe. Ride Smart.
“When an ATVer rides safely and uses their head, they can ensure they get from point A to point B without any incidents,” said John Meed, general manager of SATVA. “Off-roading is one of the greatest summer activities and adopting safe practices will maximize your experience.”
According to SATVA, one of the most important safety steps any ATVer can follow to Ride Smart is wearing a helmet. The group recommends selecting a helmet that fits comfortably and is designated for “off-road” or “motocross” purposes.
What to wear ATVing
SATVA also has some other important tips to Ride Smart. They include wearing the proper gear beyond helmets, such as eye protection, gloves, ankle boots, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. SATVA is also reminding people that riders ages 12 to 15, or people who don’t have a driver’s license, must take an approved safety course or be supervised by someone who’s had a driver’s license for years. However, the group feels all riders can benefit from the training. SATVA’s final tip to smart riding involves designating an emergency contact and packing a cell phone or walkie talkie.
“Before even hitting the ATV trail, you must ensure you have the knowledge and make the proper preparations,” Meed said.
ATV riding tips
To Ride Safe, SATVA notes that drivers shouldn’t attempt tricky manoeuvres follow the speed limit and avoid roads and streets when driving, except to cross the road or go around obstacles. Unless your ATV is designed for more than one passenger, SATVA says you shouldn’t double up because adding a passenger to a quad designed for one rider can change the dynamics of the machine, especially when climbing or descending hills or when manoeuvring around obstacles. The end result can be a roll over.
One of the points SATVA can’t stress enough about safe riding is to not drink and ride. It noted that drinking reduces a rider’s reaction time and impairs their judgement—not to mention the fact that operating an ATV on public or private property while impaired is illegal.
“When it comes down to it, riding safely is all about remaining in control at all times,” Meed said. “By paying close attention to the elements, fellow drivers and pedestrians, you can truly focus on enjoying your off-roading outing.”