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ATV Riding Tips for Safe Summer Fun

WASHINGTON, May 25, 2005 -- Memorial Day weekend signals the start of summer fun for many people, a time for enjoyable outdoor activities such as riding ATVs (all-terrain vehicles). But ATV safety should never be taken lightly. According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 125,500 people have been seriously injured in ATV-associated accidents since 1982, and more than 5,700 people have been killed. Children are at the highest risk, with the under-16 age group accounting for more than 31% of injuries in 2003.

  The 4-H Community ATV Safety Program recommends these tips for ATV safety:

    * SELECT the right model ATV.  Make sure it is right for age, size,
      strength and skill level.  Kids under age 16 years should not be
      riding ATVs with engine size over 90cc and under age 12 should not be
      riding an ATV with an engine size 70cc or greater.

    * PROTECT your body.  At a minimum, always wear a helmet, face shield or
      goggles, long sleeved shirt, gloves, long pants and leather boots. The
      helmet should be designed for motorcycle use, properly fitted and
      comply with current US Department of Transportation safety standards.

    * RESPECT yourself, proper use of roads and trails, other people and
      laws.  The top risk factors involving ATV accidents include riding
      double and riding on pavement.  Never carry a passenger or hitch a
      ride.  Ride only on designated trails, never on or alongside paved
      roads.  Be courteous to hikers, bikers, cars and other ATV operators.
      Supervise children riding ATVs at all times.  Learn and follow your
      state's ATV operation laws and read the manufacturer's warning label
      on every machine.

    * INSPECT your vehicle.  Maintain recommended tire pressure, make sure
      your brakes are adjusted correctly, check that fuel and oil levels are
      sufficient, ensure that all connections and cables are secure and test
      your headlights and taillights.

    * PERFECT your skills.  Learn proper handling of your ATV by reading the
      safety manual that came with your ATV when it was purchased new and
      taking an approved safety course from a certified instructor.

The 4-H Community ATV Safety Program brings together youth and adults at local workshops to learn proper gear, rules and riding techniques. For more information, visit 4-H is a community of young people across America who are learning leadership, citizenship and life skills. To become part of the 4-H adventure, check out