By Bob Humphrey
Yamaha Motor Corp. and the ATV Safety Institute want you to have a safe riding season. That’s why, among other things, they recommend you wear proper riding gear at all times when riding.
Helmet – It should go without saying, but NEVER ride an ATV without a helmet. Accidents can occur even while riding at a slow, safe rate of speed. You need to be prepared for unexpected things like Tree branches, falling rocks and other, possibly less responsible riders.
Be sure your helmet has stickers on the inside or outside confirming compliance with the standards from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) or Snell.
All such helmets come with chin straps. Use them. Cinch them tight enough so you are comfortable, but your helmet will not come off in the event of an accident.
Eye protection – This too should be a given. Always wear protective goggles or a face shield. Even during casual trail riding your eyes are exposed to all sorts of hazards such as falling objects, branches, insects, dirt and dust. At the very least, a speck of dirt or a branch to the eye could mean a quick end to your riding day.
Keep your eye protection clean and clear as much as possible so that your vision is not obstructed. When riding under conditions that obscure vision, ride slowly and stop frequently to clear your eye protection.
Gloves – Any gloves will work but those designed for off-road riding work best. You want a firm, secure grip on steering mechanisms. Some sort of padding on the fingers, knuckles and back of your hands is a good idea as well.
Long-sleeved Shirt/jacket – This will protect you from branches, flying objects and, on clear days, over-exposure to the sun. Any long-sleeved outerwear is fine. An off-road jersey is even better as it will have padding in more vulnerable areas. While not necessary, shoulder pads and a chest protector are encouraged.
Boots - Over-the-ankle boots are recommended for all riding. Here again, any rugged boot will suffice but those designed for off-road riding are best.