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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Staying safe on ATVs

Thursday, April 21, 2011

As the temperatures continue to climb, I find myself wanting to enjoy it by riding an ATV (All-Terrain Vehicle) around our family farm.

All-Terrain vehicles are becoming increasingly more popular on farms because they can be used to haul livestock feed or to get to fields. They are very handy and can be of great help on a farm. However, as they have increased in popularity among farm families, the number of accidents and injuries to youth and adults because of ATV accidents has increased.

This coincidence reveals the importance of understanding all the safety precautions ATV riders should take.

It is important to realize that ATVs come in different sizes and you must fit the ATV to the rider's size. Manufacturer's guidelines suggest that no rider under the age of 16 should operate an ATV with an engine larger than 90CC. Even if the rider is older than 16, they may not have the skills, strength, or maturity to operate that size of an ATV, making it important that you assess your situation individually to ensure you get the proper size for the rider.

All ATV riders need to have the maturity to understand what safety equipment they should wear. The first priority for all riders should be to wear a properly fitted ATV helmet.

There are helmets on the market that are made special for ATV riders because they have the proper amount of face protection and have the ability to absorb energy on impact.

Bicycling, skateboarding and rollerblading helmets are not acceptable safety equipment for ATV riders.

In addition to having a helmet on, the rider should wear some form of eye protection.

The eye protection may be attached to the helmet or may need to be purchase separately.

If it is not attached, an ANSI-approved pair of goggles or glasses with hard-coated polycarbonate lenses should be purchased.

Other safety equipment that needs to be worn is gloves, boots, long pants, and a long sleeved shirt.

Not all safety precautions associated with ATVs are associated with equipment.

For instance, all riders should understand and accept the fact that it is not safe to carry a passenger. All-Terrain vehicles are equipped with a single seat and when carrying a passenger, it prevents the driver from being able to shift their weight correctly when making turns.

Additionally, there is nothing on the ATV for the passenger to hold onto to prevent them from being thrown off the ATV.

No ATV should ever be operated on a paved surface such as a public road because of the safety of non-ATV riders traveling the road. Additionally, ATVs are not designed to travel on paved roads and can be hard to control when on pavement.

Likewise, going over jumps, climbing or going down steep inclines, driving through high water, and making sharp turns at high speeds are all maneuvers that are unsafe in ATVs and increase your likelihood of getting injured.

Whether or not all ATV riders understand and follow the above suggestions, it is still a good idea for all riders to be supervised because both youth and adults can fall victim to an ATV accident.

As always, if you have any questions or would like information on any agriculture, horticulture or natural resource topic, then please contact your local Purdue Extension Office at 448-9041 in Clay County or 812-829-5020 in Owen County, or reach me directly at smith535@purdue.edu.

Purdue University is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution.

Upcoming opportunities available to you through Purdue Extension include:

April 23 -- Garden Fair, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Indiana National Guard Armory, Bloomington. Cost $2,

* April 25 -- Owen County Extension Board meeting, 6 p.m., Owen County Extension Office,

* April 25 -- Owen County Garden Club meeting about the Triangle, 6:30 p.m., Julie Coffin's home,

* April 26 -- Indiana Wildlife Federation Water Forum, 6 p.m., Dobbs Park Nature Center, Terre Haute, and

* April 29 -- Arbor Day (events will take place at Cooper Park, Spencer, April 30).