All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Safety

July 11, 2021 | SECURA Risk Management

Whether intended for work, home use, or recreation, ATVs are cost-effective, multi-function tools that continue to grow in popularity. Unfortunately, reported cases of serious injuries and deaths have increased as they become more common. The Consumer Product and Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that 650 deaths and 100,000 injuries happen each year.

Regardless of the purpose or type, safety should be your top concern when operating an ATV. Here are a few things you should know before you start the engine.

Types of ATVS

Youth Models

Youth ATVs are designed for beginning riders and are smaller and less powerful than the adult counterparts. They range from 50cc and 110cc. Children should be supervised at all times. Never allow anyone under the age of 16 to ride an adult ATV.

Utility Quads

These ATVs are heavy-duty machines intended for working on farms and commercial worksites. Engines typically range from 250cc to 700cc.

Sport Quads

These ATVs are designed for off-road recreational use. They’re designed to be faster and have better suspensions. Engines range from 200cc to 400cc.


Sales of three-wheeled ATVs were banned in 1988 because of safety concerns. They are still in use, but it’s best to avoid them. SECURA’s insurance does not cover three-wheel ATVs. There are many other types of off-road vehicles other than an ATV, such as recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs), golf carts, dune buggies, and utility vehicles. Make sure you understand the differences and the safety concerns for each type. Double check that your insurance coverage applies to the type of vehicle you operate.

Keep safety at the front of your mind

When operating any sort of vehicle or machinery, safety should always be the first priority. Stay safer on the trails and on the jobsite by following these top 10 recommendations:

  1. Don’t let children under 16 ride adult-sized ATVs, and educate them about safety. Children 6-11 years of age should not operate a unit larger than 50cc. Children 12-16 years of age should not operate one larger than 90cc.
  2. Always wear a helmet, eye protection, and protective clothing.
  3. Don’t carry passengers.
  4. Attend an ATV operator training course.
  5. Don’t ride on paved roads; ATVs are difficult to control on pavement.
  6. Don’t drink and drive
  7. Avoid excessive speed. Travel at speeds appropriate for the terrain and conditions.
  8. Read your owner’s manual.
  9. Do a pre-ride safety check (tires, wheels, chain, cables).
  10. Consult your state’s DNR (Department of Natural Resources) for local trail regulations.