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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Things to Consider Before You Hop on an All Terrain Vehicle (ATV)

While you're imagining the fun and excitement of off-roading in an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV), there are quite a few things you should consider, especially when it comes to registration and operation of the vehicle. ATVs can pose their own, unique, dangers to a rider if ridden without proper training or knowledge of its operation. Here are a few things to consider before you hop on an ATV:

OHV – In most states, an ATV is considered an Off-Highway Vehicle. This basically means that any and all variants of ATVs are not street legal. ATVs cannot be registered or licensed for use on public roadways in most states. They should only be operated off of the state's roads and highways.

Registration – Before operating an ATV on public lands, a rider has to get it titled and registered. For this, a rider will need the manufacturer's certificate of origin, proof of ownership, and payment of the sales tax and title fees.

State Required Off-Road Safety Training – After registration, some states require that a rider must first undergo Off-Road Safety Training. Unlike typical vehicles on the road, off-roading in an ATV requires special handling techniques and precautions to prevent injury to the rider.

Proper Safety Gear – Just like motorcyclists, smart ATV riders dress appropriately. The basic safety gear is needed, while operating an ATV including:

  • Helmet for head injury protection,

  • Gloves and boots to protect the hands and feet from minor scrapes and also to improve grip on the vehicle,

  • Goggles to protect the eyes from flying debris,

  • Chest armor/protector to protect against rocks or tree branches that might hit the driver, and

  • Long-sleeved shirts and pants to protect against cuts and abrasions.

NO Rollover Protection – An ATV provides no rollover protection whatsoever. With their high center of gravity, the terrain in which they are usually operated, and no seat belts, ATV riders can easily be injured when the vehicle tips over or flips backward, sometimes pinning the rider underneath. This is why training in the proper use of an ATV is critical and it is why ATV riders should never ride alone.

While browsing the catalogs for an ATV, keep the above in mind. As a rider, will you be able to enjoy an ATV to its fullest? Are there any good spots for which an ATV can be driven for recreation? Do you know how to check if your ATV is in proper working order before you ride it? To remove any doubts, make sure that the vehicle you choose is appropriate to the area in which you want to ride and always keep safety and preparedness in mind.

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