Air Force emphasizes ATV safety|
by Robert Goetz
Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Public Affairs
6/22/2012 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) -- Riding all-terrain vehicles is a popular recreational activity, but it can also be dangerous. ATV riding resulted in a reported 317 deaths and an estimated 115,000 emergency room-treated injuries in 2010, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The Air Force recognizes ATV riding's risks, making it one of the emphases of its Critical Days of Summer campaign. Air Force Instruction 91-207 addresses ATV riding, spelling out requirements in section 3.4.2.
Tech. Sgt. Connie Lowe, a Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph ground safety technician, said ATV safety starts with wearing the proper personal protective equipment.
"ATV riders should wear a helmet that meets or exceeds Department of Transportation standards and goggles, wrap-around glasses or a full-face shield that meets or exceeds American National Standards Institute standards," Lowe said.
Other appropriate attire, she said, includes a long-sleeved shirt or jacket; long trousers; gloves; sturdy, over-the-ankle footwear; and a high-visibility upper garment during the day and retro-reflective upper garment at night.
"All on-duty riders of motorcycles or ATVs should also wear knee and shin guards and padded, full-fingered gloves during off-road operations," she said.
Wearing the proper PPE "can keep you and your passenger safe and legal, but the use of PPE combined with proper operation of ATVs will save your life," Lowe said.
Other important rules for ATV riders to follow include never riding on paved roads except to cross, never riding under the influence of drugs or alcohol, never carrying a passenger on a single-seat ATV and riding an ATV that's age-appropriate only on designated trails at safe speeds, she said. Riders under the age of 16 should always be supervised.
Supervising young riders is especially important because they account for a large percentage of deaths and injuries due to ATV usage. Consumer Product Safety Commission statistics show that 182 children under the age of 16 lost their lives in 2004, which accounted for 24 percent of the total reported deaths for all ages. Since then, the deaths of children under 16 have declined at a steady rate, but young riders still account for a large percentage of injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms.
Lowe also recommended that ATV riders take a hands-on safety course. The ATV Safety Institute offers rider courses at locations throughout the country. Enrollment information is available on the ASI's website, www.atvsafety.org, or by calling 800-887-2887. She also said riders should be aware of local and state laws regarding ATVs since requirements vary from place to place.
Ensuring an ATV is in safe riding condition is also important. The ASI recommends an inspection before each ride "because the off-highway environment can be harsh on vehicles."
An inspection "can minimize the chance of being injured or stranded, ensures long-term enjoyment of your ATV and should only take five to 10 minutes, depending on your ATV," according to ASI.
The ASI offers a basic "T-CLOC" checklist, which focuses on tires and wheels, controls and cables, lights and electrics, oil and fuel, and chain/driveshaft and chassis.