Adamek points out that children who are too young to drive a car should not be operating an adult-sized ATV. “It simply isn’t safe,” he says. “We recommend families that are interested in riding visit their local dealer to find an appropriately sized ATV for their youth and take an ATV safety training course. It’s also a one-stop shop for all your safety gear too.”
That very recommendation is one of the Golden Rules of ATV riding according to the All Terrain Vehicle Institute (ASI), a not-for-profit division of the Specialty Institute of America (SVIA). Here are the others:
1. Always wear a helmet, gloves, eye protection and long sleeved shirts and pants when riding.
2. Never ride on public roads; another vehicle could hit you.
3. Never ride under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
4. Never carry a passenger on a single-rider vehicle. Extra weight may upset the balance of the ATV causing it to go out of control.
5. Parental supervision is needed for riders younger than age 16. ATVs are not toys.
6. Ride only on designated trails and at a safe speed.
7. Take an ATV rider safety course.
“One of the biggest challenges we face in this industry is making it clear to parents that they cannot put their children on an adult-sized machine. Until they reach a certain size and maturity level, kids just aren’t capable of handling the size and power,” says Adamek.
Arctic Cat’s recommendation is that riders ages 6 and up start out on a 50cc machine capable of reaching maximum speeds of 15 miles per hour. Once they reach the age of 12, children are ready to move up to a 90cc machine that can be speed governed up to 30 miles per hour.
New on the market this year is the Arctic Cat 150 4x2, a transitional model meant for riders 14 and older. It arrives from the factory with a governed top speed of 20 miles per hour, but as the young rider progresses in skill, so can the speed; upwards of 30 miles per hour, also governed by the parent.
“Just because a 14 year old is 6-feet tall doesn’t mean they are capable or responsible enough of handling an adult-sized ATV. The new 150, which weighs about 250 pounds, is manageable and fun for a Youth. It does a great job of bridging the size gap safely,” says Adamek.
For more information about Arctic Cat ATVs and safety equipment, log on to www.arcticcat.com or visit your local dealer.