ATVs are tons of fun and in Alaska, they help you explore the state in a way that no other mode of transportation can match. BUT, ATVs can also be incredibly dangerous. Here are some quick tips to stay safe and keep riding.
9. Choose an appropriately sized machine. This is especially true for riders under 16. Young riders should never operate an adult-sized machine. Adults should also make sure that they are choosing a machine they can handle.
8. Check your equipment. No one wants to break down 20+ miles from the nearest road and no one wants to be the friend who helps haul you out. Be a friend. Don't abuse your friends and check your equipment before you leave the trailhead.
7. Don't ride with more passengers than the machine was designed for. In most cases, unless you are in a UTV or a professional stuntman, this is zero.
6. Stay off of paved roads. Approximately a third of ATV fatalities happen on paved roads. Don't take our word for it. Check out the statistics here.
5. Don't ride alone. The unexpected can always happen. That is why it's called the UNexpected! Your riding buddy can get you out of a lot of rough spots. They can also go get help.
4. Alcohol, drugs and riding do not mix. Get your high from fresh air and adrenaline, not intoxicants.
3. Be aware of your surroundings. Alaska is big, with lots of critters. Some of them have sharp, pointy teeth. Alaska also has rocks and cliffs and trees that fall across trails and rivers that shift... You get the idea. Be aware of your surroundings so you can avoid hazards and make it home safe to ride another day.
2. Always wear protective gear. Helmets keep your skull from cracking. Goggles keep branches out of your eyes. Gloves, long sleeves, long pants and boots will protect the extremities that are attached to what the helmet and goggles are protecting.
And our number one tip (drumroll please!)
1. Don't be a goon. Seriously. This tip really boils down to "use common sense" which is why it is our number one. But more specifically, in addition to keeping all of the other tips in mind, don't surpass your riding skills. There are a bunch of GoPro heros that have survived crazy stunts. For every hero, there are dozens of wipeouts. Wipeouts hurt. Sometimes permanently. Don't be a wipeout.