As the nation prepares to enjoy the Memorial Day holiday weekend, the All-Terrain Vehicle Safety Institute, along with the major manufacturers and distributors of ATVs in the United States, would like to reinforce the importance of safe and responsible use of ATVs this weekend.
There are nearly nine million ATVs in use across the United States, being operated by more than 25 million Americans. This makes it essential that riders and non-riders alike understand the importance of the safe and responsible use of ATVs.
"The Memorial Day weekend, for many, is the start of the summer riding season," said Paul Vitrano, Executive Vice President of the ATV Safety Institute. "Millions of Americans will enjoy this holiday weekend from behind the handlebars of an ATV."
"The ATV industry urges all riders to follow the warning labels on the vehicle, and parents to supervise riders under the age of 16," said Vitrano. "All riders should wear a helmet and other protective gear, not ride on paved roads, not ride under the influence of alcohol and other drugs, and not carry a passenger on a single-rider ATV."
Summer marks a time when children have more free time to enjoy many activities, including riding ATVs. Nearly 90 percent of youth ATV-related injury incidents occur when a youth is operating an ATV manufactured and intended for use by an adult. Parental supervision is a key element to a child's safety and children under the age of 16 must be supervised at all times when operating an ATV. Parents literally hold the key to their children's safety. Every ATV has an ignition key, and when a parent or guardian controls the key, they control the use.
Consumer Product Safety Commission data show that 92 percent of all ATV-related fatalities are the result of warned-against behaviors. The ATV Safety Institute has eight Golden Rules of ATV safety that address these behaviors and apply to all riders:
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's right for your age.
6. Supervise riders younger than 16; ATVs are not toys.
7. Ride only on designated trails and at a safe speed.
8. Take an ATV RiderCourseSM; Call toll-free at 800.887.2887, or go to www.atvsafety.org
The ATV Safety Institute encourages families to talk about the household rules for ATV riding so they may prepare for a safe, fun summer.