While driving quads can be a very fun hobby that can be done by anybody willing to learn how to ride, it is also something that can be quite dangerous, especially for kids or people that are new to this. according to statistics, Between 300 and 400 ATV-related deaths occur on U.S. roadways each year. those numbers do not count lethal accidents that have occurred offroad and non-lethal injuries in general, so when you count that, you kind of have a clearer picture of how dangerous riding quads can be.
However, this doesn’t mean that riding safely in a quad is not possible, quite the opposite actually. I believe that with the proper safety instructions and applying some common sense, ATVs can be safer than dirtbikes overall. anyways, there are a few safety tips that I would like to talk about so that you can stay safe when riding quads. if you follow all the tips and protocols, not only will you be less likely to suffer a serious accident, but you will also protect your quad from danger too.
Make Sure That You Are Riding The Correct ATV Size For Your Age And Weight
It’s important to make sure that the quad that you are using is appropriate for your weight, size, and age. for example, if you weight 250 pounds and are 6 foot 4, then riding a small quad such as a TRX250 might not be a good idea. likewise, if you are 16 years old, are just starting to ride a quad, or are shorter, then a 700cc Raptor isn’t exactly the model that you are looking for either. the quad size that you should get will depend a lot on individual factors such as your skill level, size, and weight. If you are more interested in knowing which quad size you should get, then check out this article
A general guide to ATV sizes are as follows: between 10-16 years of age should only use quads under 250CC. anyone over 16 years of age can use quads 250cc and up. now, this may vary depending on the weight of the person that is going to be riding.
Make sure the tires are in good shape
Many casual riders completely forget about their tires, and they use them until they turn into slicks, with no grooves. obviously, as tires wear, the thread becomes less pronounced, and that hurts the quad’s traction and performance. in more extreme cases, the tire might even burst and damage the quad components or the rider itself. Inspect your quad’s tread using a big coin like the picture below. the less depth, the more likely it is that you need to change your quad’s tires.
Try to avoid overspeeding on your quad
While it certainly is exhilarating to ride as fast as possible, by doing that you are just opening yourself up to bad things happening, so if you are riding on uneven terrain, then cruising on more moderate speeds is recommended because that will make it easier to handle the quad. installing a throttle limiter can also be a great idea for those who struggle to control how fast they are going when riding. riding slowly is especially important if you are going to be riding on paved roads, which brings me to my next point.
Avoid riding on paved roads
Riding on paved roads like for example in your neighborhood might be fun, but it is definitely not as safe as riding on offroading situations, especially at higher speeds. and the reason for that is the tires on the quad. ATV tires are NOT made for paved roads, the treads are not suited for the road texture and they can be more vulnerable to blowouts as well. and while it’s not impossible to ride on public roads safely, you are going to have to do a few mods to your quad to have a road worthy machine, like for example using tires with less pronounced tread depth,
Avoid flashy tricks for now
Even though doing things like wheelies, powerslides, and donuts can be quite fun and rewarding, they aren’t stuff that should be done by those looking for safety. wheelies in particular have a high rollover risk, especially when done on uneven terrain, so I would try to avoid doing these if you are new to riding quads. other things like donuts and slides aren’t as hard to do or dangerous, but you should still exercise caution when trying to perform them.
Learn how to sit/ride an ATV
While riding an ATV isn’t exactly rocket science, you still are going to benefit from a comprehensive guide on how to cruise effectively. I personally made a complete guide that helps you on everything that you need to know, from the first time that you hop on the quad to getting off it. in that post, I explain a few things on how to sit properly on the machine, how to corner, and more. anyways, the first thing that you must keep in mind if you want to ride comfortably positioning yourself correctly to avoid pain in your body. many new riders make the mistake of sitting way too close or too far from the handlebars, which will make your arms sore when picking up speed. if your arms feel too stiff after riding, then that can be a signal that you might be sitting too far and your arms might be a bit too extended. try to sit closer to the middle of the quad if this is the case.
Wear safety equipment
Safety equipment is the best investment you can make if you are concerned about riding safely, especially if you are going to be using the quad on trails. while the ideal thing to do is to wear a complete set of protective gear, which includes a helmet, chest protector, boots, gloves, goggles, etc… if you are aren’t willing to get all that, then at least try to get a helmet and a chest protector, since head, spine, and torso injuries make up a majority of ATV lethal accidents. the most important thing to get is a helmet. I personally use is called the O’Neal Spyde Helmet. the main pro about that helmet is simply the ridiculous quality for the price. so if you don’t have a helmet already, then I would advise that you get that one in a heartbeat.
Avoid Standing Up While Riding
Standing up to catch some wind while the ATV is moving is a nasty habit that you should avoid doing. number 1, working the throttle, brakes, and clutch gets super-uncomfortable in that position. the brake is something that always should be easy to apply and that is not the case when doing that. second, standing up will obviously affect your stability when riding, especially on uneven roads. the main reason why rollovers are so common with ATVs is because of the ground clearance and the higher center of gravity that they have, so combining that with riding around standing up is a good way to lose balance.
Avoid Hard Cornering
Sharp cornering while fast riding is one of the most common ways people suffer accidents while riding ATVs. the quad that you are using may or may not have a differential, and if it doesn’t, then traction might be affected.