ATVs are proving to be very helpful and a time efficient tool for NRCS field checks. Most NRCS field offices and area offices in Kansas now either have a NRCS or conservation district (CD)-owned ATV. The required NRCS ATV safety course, prior to employees using ATVs, gives riders very important training for safe ATV operation.
With more than 700 deaths and 135,000 injuries occurring each year, ATV safety is a critically important issue for communities and riders across the country. About one-third of ATV-related deaths and injuries are to children under 16 years of age. Like other activities involving high speeds and heavy machinery, riding an ATV can be dangerous and certain behaviors will increase the risk of injury or death.
Most of these injuries and deaths can be attributed to improper use of ATVs. Make ATV safety a priority in any NRCS or CD office by choosing to "manage your risk" on an ATV and to ride an ATV within your abilities. Refer to this checklist for safe ATV operation:
Wear appropriate riding gear: Department of Transportation, Snell ANSI-approved helmet, goggles, gloves, over-the-ankle boots, long-sleeve shirt, and long pants.
Read the owners manuals carefully.
Never carry anyone else on an ATV. ATVs are not made for multiple riders.
Do not add attachments. Any added attachments affect the stability, operating, and braking of the ATV. Just because an attachment is available does not mean that it can be used without increasing your risk of being injured.
Do not operate an ATV on streets, highways, or paved roads.
Do not permit children to operate ATVs without specialized training, and then they should be allowed to only operate an ATV of an appropriate size. Contact the ATV Safety Institute to enroll in a course. ATVs with an engine size of 70cc to 90cc should be operated by people at least 12 years of age. ATVs with an engine size of greater than 90cc should only be operated by people at least 16 years of age.
Perform a routine inspection of the ATV to confirm that:
Tires and wheels are in good condition.
Controls and cables are operational.
Chain has proper slack and is lubricated.
Riding gear (including a helmet) is available.
Loading ramp is secured to the pickup tailgate prior to loading.