Is ATV Riding an Extreme Hobby?
You may have gotten the impression that ATV riding is an extreme sport, and that thought may have impacted how interested you are in taking it up. So, what's the truth? Is ATV riding an extreme hobby? The answer is: yes and no. It depends on how you do it.
Is ATV Riding Dangerous?
As with many things in life, just about everything, there is some inherent risk involved. Whether ATV riding could be considered extreme depends on how you ride. Some people ride intelligently and within their skill level on ATV trails, which is a great way to enjoy the outdoors but it bears little comparison to anything extreme. Kids of a certain age, size, and mental maturity can ride ATVs appropriate for them.
If you race, ride in wild terrain, don't ride intelligently, or don't stick to your skill level, you are getting more extreme/dangerous. There is a range to ATV safety. The faster you go, the more power and size your machine has, the unfamiliarity, wildness, and extremes of the terrain you ride on, and whether you do tricks increase the danger level.
Because ATVs are vehicles, and heavy ones, and because you could get stranded in the wilderness, seriously injured, or killed if something goes wrong, it is imperative that you ride your ATV intelligently, ride with others, and have an emergency plan no matter what kind of riding you do.
How to Make ATV Riding Safer
There are many things in your control that increase your safety while riding an ATV. These things should be done by all ATV riders, whether you're playing it safe or going for an extreme hobby.
Wear the proper riding gear
Wearing the proper riding gear is crucial to ATV safety.
You'll need a helmet. One approved by the Department of Transportation provides the most safety. This serves several purposes. Of course, the primary purpose of a helmet is to protect your head in the event of an accident. It also shields you from wind that is punishing enough to make you tire early and struggle to focus, which are both riding hazards.
ATV goggles protect your eyes from impacts, debris, sweat, and fog and they can help you see better. They come in a variety of types to address different types of riding, protecting you from different hazards and helping you see better in different terrain.
Long sleeves and pants are a must to protect your arms and legs from elements, but a set of professional riding gear such as waders, wading boots and a jacket is even better. It will prevent cuts, abrasions, and other damages you don’t want to get. Gloves will also protect your hands and improve your grip.
Follow the ATV driving rules
Anyone under 16 years old must ride an appropriate ATV for their age, size, and emotional maturity and they must be supervised by an adult.
You can get safety training and certification to guarantee safety and to be allowed to ride on certain trails.
There is trail riding etiquette that you need to know not just to get along with fellow riders but to ride safely.
Complete the pre-riding inspection
It is crucial that you inspect your vehicle before every ride to make sure it is safe to operate. You'll need to check just about everything necessary for the machine to operate, such as the tires, controls, fluids, and nuts and bolts. We won't cover everything here, but you need to familiarize yourself with the list and make checking the items on it routine.
Avoid traffic hazards
Never ride your ATV on a paved road unless you have gone through all the steps to make it street legal, including changing the tires. ATVs are not designed for pavement and are likely to tip over. Only take an ATV on the road for the brief period of time it takes to cross the road, if it's necessary, and do that carefully.
Be alert at all times on an ATV and don't drive under the influence of any mind-altering substance. Animals, obstacles, and even people could appear in your path without warning.
If you want to make ATV riding an extreme hobby by racing, tackling untamed terrain, or doing tricks, do it in style and keep enjoying it longer by doing it wisely.
If you just want to get outside and have some fun on these machines or take your family camping, you can do that pretty safely by picking the right ATVs, riding intelligently at your skill level and in a safe manner, and riding in carefully chosen terrain.