A Beginner’s Guide to Riding ATVs

December 30th, 2021 by

A Beginner’s Guide to Riding ATVs

Approximately 80% of ATV injuries happen to those riding ATVs. Knowing how to ride an ATV safely and correctly is essential to having the best ATV experience possible.

In this article, we offer the best information regarding ATV riding for beginners. Whether you’re looking to buy an ATV or already have a new ATV, continue reading to learn how to ride an ATV with confidence.


ATV Riding for Beginners: What to Know

When it comes to ATV riding for beginners, they tend to want to immediately start riding ATVs. However, there’s a lot to know about how to ride an ATV before you take it out for the first time.


Take the Time to Learn

Taking the time to learn how to ride an ATV safely may sound boring, but it can help you have an even better time. Plus, you’re less likely to injure yourself if you know what you’re doing.

This includes knowing when and where to drive. More importantly, you need to know when and where NOT to drive. This can keep you out of trouble and harms ways.

Every new ATV rider should take the time to read the owner’s manual. The manual will show you where all of the controls are and what they do. It’ll also tell you how to take care of your ATV so it lasts its full life.


Follow ATV Laws for Your State

An important part of riding ATVs is understanding the laws in your state. Many states prohibit riding at night and on certain roads. You can check with your local DMV to be sure you’re following the rules and avoid a fine.

You also never want to ride an ATV while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Riding ATVs is fun, but it can also be dangerous if your judgment is impaired.


Practice First

Even if your new ATV seems simple to operate, you need to practice before you take it out for a ride. If you’ve read the manual, you should be able to easily find the controls. The key is to get comfortable using them.

Having some practice under your belt will increase your confidence and result in the best ATV experience. Don’t rush the learning process.


Safety Tips for Riding ATVs

Taking a safety course and getting ATV certified is one of the best things you can do when riding ATVs. Some states may even require the certification in order to operate the vehicle.

Even if you can’t take the safety course, there are some important safety tips when it comes to ATV riding for beginners. These range from using the right equipment to preparing for the worst.


Use the Right Equipment

Once you buy an ATV, you should buy the right equipment before doing anything else. This includes buying the right safety equipment. You’re more prone to accidents while learning how to ride an ATV, so it’s even more important at the beginning.

Whenever operating an ATV, you should be wearing a helmet, goggles, gloves, and riding boots. This is the bare minimum while learning how to ride an ATV.

As you learn, you’ll feel more confident to take on rougher trailers and higher speeds. For this reason, more advanced riders will need a chest protector, neck brace, and knee braces as well.


Buy An ATV For Your Size

Many people don’t realize that ATVs come in different sizes depending on the age and weight of the rider. Younger and smaller riders shouldn’t use full-size ATVs, which can weigh over 600 pounds and be difficult to control.

You should also consider passenger number and weight limits when you buy an ATV. Exceeding these numbers can put yourself and your passengers at risk. It can also shorten the lifespan of your ATV since the parts will wear faster.


Use the Right Trails

While ATVs aren’t legal on many paved roads, there are some trails you should avoid as well. Trails that aren’t approved for ATV use may be less stable at higher speeds. You might be at a higher risk of rolling your vehicle.

When learning ATV riding for beginners, you’ll also want to choose a trail that’s appropriate for your age and skill level. Some ATV roads are more suitable for those with more experience.


Be Prepared for Accidents

An important part of learning how to ride an ATV is being prepared. Having the right equipment on board in case of accidents should be part of your pre-ride checklist.

You should learn basic first aid for minor injuries and have a plan in case of more severe injuries. Consider taking a first-aid kit with you when you go out riding and always make sure someone knows where you’re going and when you’ll return.


How to Ride an ATV

The first part of how to ride an ATV is learning the different parts and features of your specific ATV. After that, you’ll need to get comfortable with operating it before you actually start riding.

This pre-education is an essential part of riding ATVs. Once you have that, learning the various riding techniques becomes much easier.


Keep Your Feet on Board

Keep track of your foot placement when learning how to ride an ATV. Keep both feet securely placed on the included footpegs instead of allowing them to change free at the side of the machine.

When riding, it can be easy to lose track of your foot placement. This can lead to your feet getting caught in the rear tires.


Get Used to Shifting

Shifting can be a challenging part of riding ATVs, especially if you aren’t familiar with shifting a manual transmission. Struggling with shifting can limit your riding freedom. Practicing until your movements are smooth can improve your experience.


Riding Posture

Using the best ATV riding posture can give you better control while riding, especially over rougher terrain. You need to know how to distribute your weight to keep your balance. For example, when turning, be sure to lean into the turn.

When travelling at moderate speeds on a bumpy trail, you should hover. Hovering refers to standing on the footpegs with your knees slightly bent. This can help you keep you more comfortable and balanced on a bumpy ride.

Even if you’re nervous, try to keep your body loose while riding. Don’t lock your knees or elbows if you want to avoid causing damage to your joints on rough terrain or unexpected bumps.


ATV Maintenance Tips

New ATV riders tend to overlook the need for maintenance when they buy an ATV. Even the best ATV needs regular maintenance and checks to keep it in good operating condition. Knowing how and when to seek maintenance is part of being a good rider.


Keep Up on Maintenance

Whether it be oil, brakes, batteries, or tires, it’s important to schedule routine maintenance with our service center at Westshore Marine & Leisure. Even if your ATV seems to be in good condition, maintenance helps keep it that way.

Professionals are trained to spot problems before you may even notice them. This can help avoid costly repair bills down the road.


Inspect Before and After You Ride

While it may be tedious, you should always inspect your ATV before and after you ride it. If you’re riding on an especially rough trail, check the lug nuts on your tire and be sure all connections are secure.

Over time, these connections might become loose. This can result in damage to your vehicle as well as pose a threat to your health while riding.


Remove Mud

You can’t thoroughly inspect your new ATV if you can’t see it. This is one of the reasons why it’s important to keep your vehicle clean.

Whether there’s a thick layer of dust built up over time or you were riding on a muddy trail, make it a habit to wash your ATV after each ride. Mud and dirt can hide damage and can even temporarily hold together damaged parts.


Drain Fuel

When preparing your ATV for storage or when leaving it unused for more than 2 weeks, drain any unused gasoline. Gasoline deteriorates over time and can wreak havoc on your ATV’s internal components.

If you plan to store your new ATV during the winter months, go through the process of winterizing it. This includes draining the old fuel. Alternatively, consider adding a fuel stabilizer that can prevent the breakdown.

However, even if you decide to use the fuel stabilizer, the fuel can’t remain in the fuel lines. The fuel lines can still deteriorate with gasoline inside of them, so you’ll need to pull all the fuel back into the gas tank.


Start Riding ATVs

Riding ATVs is a fun pastime, especially if you know what you’re doing and can do it safely. Taking the time to learn how to use your new ATV before focusing on how to ride an ATV can help ensure you have the best ATV experience possible.

If you’re still looking to buy an ATV, check out our selection of new ATV models on our website.

Posted in Riding An ATV