Dangerous behavior, clearly discouraged in operator manuals, was a factor in 98 percent of ROV crashes, according to a recent study. Stunting, driving too fast, driving on paved roads, using alcohol or drugs, improper seating of passengers, and refusal to wear helmets and use seat belts were among key reasons for unnecessary injuries. Age was another factor. Some 23 percent of the crashes involved children, and the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association says that no one under 16 or without a driver’s license should drive an ROV.
“It’s great that we all have the freedom to explore the country’s trails and dunes behind the wheel of an ROV,” said Paul Vitrano, ROHVA executive vice president. “But we call on the thousands of Americans enjoying this emerging pastime to drive responsibly, safely and take the best possible care of their family, friends and the land as well.”
Important safety tips and the right way to treat the environment can find be found online at www.rohva.org.
ROHVA wants enthusiasts to follow its important ROV Safety Rules and help ensure the safety of drivers, passengers and everyone else off-road.
1. Always wear a helmet and other protective gear, use the seat belts, and keep all parts of your body inside the ROV.
2. Never drive on paved roads, except to cross, when done safely and permitted by law. ROVs are designed to be operated off-highway.
3. Drive only in designated areas, at a safe speed, and use care when turning and crossing slopes.
4. Never drive under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
5. Never drive an ROV unless you’re 16 or older or have a driver’s license. ROVs are not toys.
6. Never carry more passengers than the ROV is designed for, and never allow a passenger who is too small to sit in a passenger seat to ride in the ROV.
7. Read and follow the operator’s manual and warning labels.
Sometimes referred to as side-by-sides or utility terrain vehicles (UTVs), ROVs are motorized off-road vehicles designed to travel on four or more non-highway tires, with a steering wheel, non-straddle seating, seat belts, an occupant-protective structure, and engine displacement up to 1,000cc. Current models are designed with seats for a driver and one or more passengers. ROVs are used for a variety of outdoor recreational activities as well as many work applications.
ATVs and the Fourth of July Weekend:
The ATV Safety Institute wants every Fourth of July weekend ride to end with good memories and, to ensure that happens, enthusiasts need to abide by eight Golden Rules. The fact is that Consumer Product Safety Commission statistics show that 92 percent of all ATV-related fatalities stem from dangerous behavior.
The ASI’s eight Golden Rules outline the right way to ride:
1. Always wear a DOT-compliant helmet, goggles, long sleeves, long pants, over-the-ankle boots, and gloves.
2. Never ride on paved roads except to cross when done safely and permitted by law. ATVs are designed to be operated off-highway.
3. Never ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
4. Never carry a passenger on a single-rider ATV, and no more than one passenger on an ATV specifically designed for two people.
5. Ride an ATV that’s right for your age.
6. Always supervise riders younger than 16. ATVs are not toys.
7. Ride only on designated trails and at a safe speed.
8. Take a hands-on ATV RiderCourse and the free online E-Course. Visit ATVSafety.org or call 800.887.2887.
Tragically, nearly 90 percent of youth ATV-related injuries happen when a child is on board an adult-sized ATV, instead of one of the many readily available youth models.
“The Fourth of July weekend should mark our nation’s founding and be a long weekend for Americans to enjoy themselves, not an anniversary forever remembered for a hospital visit,” said Tim Buche, president of the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America. “Riding ATVs can be just as much fun as anything you’ll do this weekend, as long as you make the right choices and stay safe. We’re also mindful that friends with ATVs might be getting together with friends who have never ridden, but this isn’t the time to jump on and just give it a try. The only first ride anyone should ever take is through the ASI’s ATV RiderCourse and there is no reason not to take it.”
The half-day, hands-on course is free for buyers of new ATVs from ASI member-companies. Most major manufacturers pay an incentive to take the course, in the form of cash or merchandise certificates valued at $100. To enroll in an ATV RiderCourseSM, visit www.atvsafety.org. The incentives are designed to encourage participation but the free training is a lifelong offer and available to all family members.
Besides practicing safe riding skills on an actual riding range, riders can virtually brush up on ATV safety principles with the ASI’s E-Course. There are three age-specific e-learning courses to choose from: adults, teens, and children. The courses include videos and interactive games to make them fun and effective learning experiences for all age groups.