WHETHER you’re having fun on an ATV (all-terrain vehicle) or in an ROV (recreational off-highway vehicle), staying safe can be as simple as ABC and 123.
A. Learn the differences between the types of vehicles: ROVs, also called side-by-sides, have a steering wheel, acceleration foot pedal and brake foot pedal. ATVs have a handlebar for steering, a throttle controlled by a thumb lever, and hand levers and a foot pedal for the brakes. Most ATVs are designed for one rider who straddles the machine, out in the open. With an ROV, it’s important to wear the seat belt and keep all arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times.
B. Get the size right: It’s critical that ATV riders be the right size for their machines. Children should not ride adult-sized ATVs, though youth-model ATVs let kids as young as 6 enjoy riding under adult supervision. ROVs are only for operators age 16 or older with a valid driver’s license.
C. Protective gear: Riders of either vehicle need proper helmets that meet Department of Transportation standards, eye protection, gloves, long sleeves and pants, and sturdy boots. An ROV should have seat belts, a rollover protective structure, side retention features and handholds.
1. Ride right: These vehicles are for off-road use only and should be taken exclusively on designated trails.
2. Ride sober: Neither should ever be operated while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
3. Get safety trained: Both should be used only after proper training, through the ATV Safety Institute (www.atvsafety.org) or the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association (www.ROHVA.org). Then go have fun—safely—off-road. North American Precis Syndicate