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Motorcycle And All-terrain Vehicle Safety

Why is motorcycle and all-terrain vehicle safety important?

Motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are dangerous to drive without proper training. An ATV is a vehicle designed to ride on rugged (bumpy) land or land that is not paved. ATVs may have 3 or 4 wheels. You may protect yourself from injury or death by learning how to ride motorcycles and ATVs safely.

What increases my risk for injury on a motorcycle or ATV?

ATVs and motorcycles are more dangerous than cars because your body is exposed. They are also more dangerous because they can travel at high speeds. This increases your risk of injury and broken bones if you are in a crash. You may also be at risk for injury if:

  • You are younger than 16 years old. Children have the highest risk for injury or death on these vehicles. They may be injured both as drivers or passengers. Children typically do not have the knowledge to be able to ride safely.

  • You take turns too quickly or race. ATVs and motorcycles are top heavy and can tip easily. You may be thrown off or your vehicle may roll over. Your risk for injury and death increases if you race or jump your motorcycle or ATV.

  • You hit an object. You can lose control of your vehicle if you hit rocks, bumps, or potholes. Or, you may hit a tree, flip backwards, or fall off.

  • You do not protect your head. You are at risk for head and facial injuries if you do not wear a helmet.

  • You ride in unsafe areas. You are at risk for injury if you ride in an open field where fences are hard to see. Fence wires can hurt your head, neck, face, or torso (mid section) if you run into them at high speeds. You are also at risk if you drive an ATV on a road meant for cars.

  • You ride with an exposed engine. This increases your chances of burning your leg or other body part.

  • You drink alcohol and then drive a motorcycle or ATV.

What are general safety tips for riding a motorcycle or ATV?

  • Do not let children drive an ATV or motorcycle if they are younger than 16 years old.

  • Do not drive motorcycles or ATVs at night. This makes it hard for you to see or to be seen by others.

  • Drive slowly so you do not lose control. Do not take sharp turns.

  • Never drink alcohol and drive an ATV or motorcycle. Also, do not drive while you are tired.

  • Read all warning labels on your ATV or motorcycle before you drive it.

  • Do not drive ATVs on roads that are meant for cars. This is not legal and can be dangerous.

  • Only allow 1 person at a time to ride an ATV or motorcycle. Do not attempt tricks or jumps.

  • Place an engine cover on your vehicle if the engine is exposed to prevent burns.

How can I increase my safety on a motorcycle?

  • Take a training course if you plan to drive a motorcycle. Do not drive a motorcycle without a license. It is not legal for children younger than 16 years old or adults who do not have a license to drive a motorcycle.

  • Drive your motorcycle with defense. Pretend other cars cannot see you, and try to stay in plain view. Practice driving your motorcycle before you drive in heavy traffic. Follow the laws of the road.

  • Watch the road for bumps, potholes, or any changes that may put you in danger. Keep space between you and other cars so you have time to react in case they swerve in front of you.

  • Flash your brake lights before you slow down or stop. Use your blinkers when you turn or change lanes.

  • Do not ride in another driver's blind spot. This is the area behind a driver on either side where it is hard for the driver to see other vehicles. Honk your horn if another driver starts to move into your area.

What types of gear will protect me on a motorcycle or ATV safety?

  • Always wear a helmet when you are on ATVs and motorcycles. Use a helmet that is made to be worn on a motorcycle. Find a helmet with a face mask to protect your eyes and face from debris while you ride. Wear sunglasses or other eye protection if your helmet does not have a face mask. Wear seat belts if your vehicle has them. You may be able to get seat belts installed in your vehicle.

  • Wear bright, protective clothing that covers your whole body, including boots, coats, and gloves. Wear leather or thick clothing. Wear a sturdy, light-colored helmet instead of a dark one so others may see you better.

  • Use lights, reflectors, and flags to make yourself more visible, even during daylight.
Motorcycle ATV Protective Wear

Where can I find more information about motorcycle and all-terrain vehicle safety?

  • ATV Safety Institute
    2 Jenner, Suite 150
    Irvine , CA 92618-3806
    Phone: 1- 949 - 727-3727
    Web Address:
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington , DC 20590
    Phone: 1- 888 - 327-4236
    Web Address:

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