Vroom, vroom... Summer Motorsports SafetySummer in Virginia is the perfect time to get out there on your dirtbike or All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) and have some heart-pounding fun. But ATVs and dirtbikes can be deadly if not used properly. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 97,200 ATV-related injuries occurred in 2015; approximately 28 percent of those involved children under the age of 16.
Follow these 8 rules to ensure that your day of motorsports excitement ends with a barbecue or campout, and not an accident.
- Protect yourself: When it comes to operating or riding on an ATV or dirtbike, never skimp on safety. Always wear protective gear, including a helmet and goggles, gloves, long-sleeved clothing and sturdy, closed-toe footwear. Additional safety gear recommended specifically for dirt bike riders includes a chest protector, neck brace and kidney belt.
- Ride the right surfaces: Both ATVs and dirtbikes were designed to be operated off-road. In fact, most ATV accidents (33 percent) occur on paved surfaces; but the second most common terrain for ATV injuries are unpaved roads. Bottom line: ATVs and dirtbikes are not meant to handle pavement and don't have the safety features to operate well in traffic, so keep them off the roads.
- Take a safety course: An ATV or dirt bike safety course is an excellent idea for any new recreational vehicle owner. Look for courses in your area that will allow you to gain hands-on training or, if it's your only option, take one online.
- Stay together: Accidents can happen, so it's important that someone is available to get help if something goes wrong. Always ride with a buddy or a group, and look out for each other.
- Obey rider restrictions: Children under 16 years should never be allowed to drive an adult-sized ATV. Similarly, don't allow two people to ride unless your ATV is equipped to handle two passengers. When it comes to dirt bikes, be sure to use one that's within your range of skills and don't try those stunts you saw on TV.
- Know your skill-level: ATVs are not mini automobiles, and they require different skills to operate safely. Younger drivers especially may not have the ability, physical strength or judgement to operate an ATV, even if they are 16 or older. If you're a newbie, use extreme caution when starting out with an ATV or dirt bike.
- Inspect your vehicle: Have your bike or ATV checked out to make sure it's in good working condition. After that, you should continue to inspect your vehicle on a regular basis before heading out for a ride. Make sure you have plenty of fuel and always check your brakes before revving up your speed.
- Get insured: ATV or dirt bike insurance is a great option for those who ride regularly. This type of insurance can provide many of the coverages you would get with an auto insurance policy, such as liability, collision and comprehensive coverage. And remember: many policies will not cover accidents if, for example, a young person was operating a vehicle meant for an adult; or if the driver was under the influence so always follow safety guidelines.
For any questions about ATV insurance, call or contact Wilson, Timmons & Wallerstein Insurance, Inc. today.