ATV Safety Institute’s Golden Rules

  1. Always wear a helmet, and other protective gear.
  2. Never ride on public roads – another vehicle could hit you.
  3. Never ride under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
  4. Never carry a passenger on a single-rider vehicle.
  5. Ride an ATV that is right for your age.
  6. Supervise riders younger than 16. ATVsare not toys.
  7. Ride only on designated trails and at a safe speed.

Basic Safety Guide for Parents and First Time Riders

This guide especially relates to children on smaller ATVs, but applies equally to beginners of all ages. It is an important advice to parents, teachers or instructors. The rider’s safety depends on your commitment to take the time necessary to fully educate him/her on the proper operation of the ATV. Remember that proper instruction before the rider begins to ride is just as important as proper instruction and supervision while riding. Please go through this manual with the rider page by page. Fully explain all of the instructions, requirements and warnings it contains. Be sure to put as much emphasis on safety precautions as on proper operational techniques. Question the rider as you go through the manual to ensure s/he understands what you are saying. Following is a step-by-step guide to help make the rider’s first use of an ATV safe and enjoyable. We strongly urge that you use this guide to teach each rider whom you let ride an ATV. Full Attention at all times is needed to safely operate any motorized vehicle, including ATV’s.


The first step to safe riding is proper protection of the rider. The rider should always wear a helmet, eye protection, gloves, long pants, a long-sleeved shirt or jacket and boots. Make sure the rider is not wearing any loose-fitting clothes. Loose belts, scarves, etc., can get caught in moving parts and cause personal injury. Even in hot weather, make sure the rider wears long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. These not only protect against abrasive injuries but also help reduce fatigue which comes from loss of body heat caused by exposure to the wind.


The rider should become completely familiar with the names and functions of all controls. Demonstrate operation of the controls if necessary. Ask the rider to do such things as “Apply the brakes. Turn off the engine,” etc. Practice this exercise until the rider can operate all of the controls without hesitation and without looking at the controls. Review the instructions with the rider until she/he knows all the items that should be checked. Give specific examples of things to look for.


    To help the rider develop confidence, she/he should PRACTICE FIRST WITH THE ENGINE OFF, as follows:

  1. Have rider sit on ATV.
  2. Instruct rider to keep his/her eyes straight ahead while you slowly push the vehicle from behind. This will give the rider the “feel” of riding a moving vehicle.
  3. As you push the ATV, instruct the rider to steer straight ahead and perform operations such as stopping the vehicle and turning OFF the engine switch while moving. Watch the rider closely to make sure she/he is operating the controls correctly and without looking at them.
  4. As you approach the end of the practice area, tell the rider to stop the vehicle. You should drag the rear end of the ATV around so you can push it straight ahead in the opposite direction.
  5. Practice with the engine OFF until the rider gets the “feel” of using the brakes and can stop the vehicle and turn OFF the engine switch without hesitation and without looking at the controls.


Next start the ATV’s engine and have the rider practice starting off, riding in a straight line and stopping with the vehicle under power. Walk alongside the ATV and hold the engine cut-out switch cord or have the rider ride back and forth between you and another supervising adult. Make sure the rider:

    1. Opens the throttle gently when starting off.
    2. Releases the throttle and applies the brakes in sequence when stopping.
    3. Becomes aware of the distance it takes the vehicle to stop when the engine switch is turned OFF while the vehicle is moving. As you approach the end of the practice session, you should again tell the rider to stop the vehicle and get off so you can turn it around for him/her. Practice this exercise until the rider can start off, accelerate, cruise and stop correctly and confidently.


After the rider has learned to ride the ATV in a straight line and can stop it at will, you should teach the rider how to turn the vehicle. Explain the proper body movements for turning and let the rider PRACTICE FIRST WITH THE ENGINE OFF as you push the vehicle from behind.When turning, watch to make sure the rider:

    1. Shifts his/her weight slightly forward and supports his/her weight on the outer footrest.
    2. Leans his/her upper body into the direction of the turn, pressing down with the opposite leg.
      When the rider is able to properly turn the ATV in both directions with the engine OFF, she/he should practice turning with the vehicle under power. Again, make sure that the throttle limiter is adjusted to provide a low maximum speed capability. Watch closely to make sure the rider is using the proper technique. The rider should practice turning until s/he can do so correctly and confidently.


When the rider has mastered the basic riding manoeuvres in the previously listed steps, she/he should practice them all together. Instruct the rider to perform various manoeuvres such as turning right, turning left, stopping, etc. Vary the order of these manoeuvres so the rider will not anticipate what s/he will be asked to do next. Practice this exercise until you are confident that the rider has mastered all the basic manoeuvres. Using this procedure will help the first-time rider learn the most basic riding techniques. To become a skilled rider, the rider will need a great deal of practice and continuing instruction in addition to completing these introductory steps. After all the riding techniques have been mastered, you can adjust the throttle limiter to provide higher speed capabilities in keeping with the rider’s skill and experience.