What are the Unwritten Rules of Driving My ATV?
Driving Your ATV with Respect
ATVs have been in the news in Alberta due to the high number of injuries/death and well publicized environmental damage. Riding an ATV is an exciting hobby, but getting to know your surroundings and making smart decisions will put you well on the road to being a respectful and safe driver!
Consider these basics:
- Wear a helmet to reduce risk of serious injury.
- Supervise children under age 14 (it’s a law in Alberta).
- Do not drink and drive! An alarming number of accidents involve alcohol.
- Look at a map and avoid crossing any areas that are environmentally sensitive, such as marshes and meadows.
- Be sure you know about any areas with restrictions.
- Never run over young trees, shrubs and grass.
- Try not to block trails when you stop your ATV; there may be others behind you.
- Stay away from wet roads which are easily damaged by ATVs.
- Don’t create new trails with your ATV; this could heavily damage any forest life.
- Avoid spinning your wheels on any terrain; this cuts down on any damage to the terrain.
- When you’re out on your ATV, you may come across wildlife in park areas, on horse trails or even livestock. Show courtesy by:
- Giving horses and riders the right of way.
- Give cattle the time to move off your trail; don’t startle them.
- Leaving any fence the way you find it –open or closed.
- Don’t feed any wild or farm animals.
- Respect signs that identify endangered animal species; you’ll often see trail markers.
Build a positive relationship with others
- Try to develop a positive rapport with other people you encounter, such as landowners, campers and hikers.
- Get permission to drive on land, public or private. Many parks prohibit the use of ATVs inland but will permit it on roadsides.
- If you come across campers and hikers, be as quiet as possible and respect the fact that they are there to escape noisier city life.
- Be friendly with people and share environmental tips.
- Be sure you leave your site with what you bring; don’t leave any garbage behind.
At Alpine Insurance, we hear about ATV accidents first-hand. By following these tips, you can stay safe and minimize the impact of your ATV on the environment. Have fun on the trails this summer!
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