ATV Safety

The members of the Southern Vermont Trail Riders take safety very seriously.

This page is dedicated to the safe operation of ATV’s  The material below will help educate both the novice and experienced ATV rider on the safe and respectful operation of their ATV.

The following links to a PDF booklet from the ATV Safety Institute.  The purpose of this booklet is to answer your questions about All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) and  help you increase your knowledge of their operation and use. It will help you to learn and respect the capabilities of your ATV.

ATV Riding Tips from the ATV Safety Institute

ATV Riding Tips from the ATV Safety Institute

Vermont ATV Operators Manual

Vermont ATV Operators Manual

Vermont Online ATV Safety Course.

You can use the PDF documents above as study material prior to taking the course.  The course also contains the study material but it is only available when online.  The PDFs above can be printed and read offline for your convenience.

Vermont Online ATV Safety Course

This course is REQUIRED for all ATV operators under the age of 18.

Here is a site that links to state and national ATV statistics and laws:

ATV safety begins with proper maintenance of your machine.  The following lists common maintenance items that should be performed before each riding season.  Remember to consult your ATV Owners manual for other maintenance items specific to your machine.

Pre-season Maintenance

Time to Tune Up Your ATV
The snow has melted and the ground is thawing, and the riding season has arrived. But before you hop on your trusty ATV, you’ll need to perform some maintenance on the vehicle itself. Note: How often you should perform maintenance varies according to how often the vehicle is used. Vehicles subjected to severe use, such as operation in wet or dusty areas, should be inspected and serviced more frequently. Pay special attention to oil level in the oil tank. A rise in oil level in cold weather can indicate moisture collecting in the oil tank. This list offers a general overview of ATV vehicle maintenance. Remember to keep your owner’s manual handy and consult a master repair manual or your local dealer for further details.


  • Change oil and filter (4-Strokes)
  • Change oil filter and check oil pump cable adjustment (2-Strokes)
  • Check oil lines and oil tank vent lines for kinks or leaks
  • Change Counter Balancer oil (400 cc 2-stroke engines)
  • Inspect Air Filter, Pre-Cleaner and Engine Breather Filter. Replace as necessary.
  • Inspect Carburetor Air Intake Ducts/Flange for proper sealing/air leaks.
  • Replace Fuel Filter and inspect fuel cap, lines, fuel valve, fuel pump, and carburetor for cracks, leaks or kinks in lines. Repair or replace as necessary.
  • Cooling system: Check coolant strength, fill level, and inspect hoses. Repair or replace as needed.
  • Radiator: Inspect and clean external surface.
  • Check fasteners and motor mounts. * Refer to service manual or local dealer for torque specs.


  • Replace spark plug. Check ignition timing or have your local dealer check ignition timing.
  • Battery: Clean terminals, check fluid level, charge battery (see battery maintenance article for more information on battery maintenance).
  • Lights: Check headlamp, tail lamp, running lamps and brake lamp. Replace or repair as needed.
  • Check switches (headlamp, brake, AWD, key, etc.) for proper operation. Repair or replace as needed.
  • Verify brake and throttle controls move freely.


  • General Lubrication: Check front hub fluid or bearings. Change fluid or pack wheel bearings as needed. Grease chassis.
  • Transmission/Gear Case: Change fluid, check shift adjustments, check for leaks. Repair as needed.
  • Drive Chain: Inspect, adjust and lubricate.
  • Brakes: Check fluid level in master cylinder, brake pad wear, and lever travel. Fill, repair, and replace as needed.
  • Check suspension fasteners for proper torque (refer to service manual or local dealer for torque specs).

Riding Etiquette

From NH ATV Trail site on Multi-use trails (link to the site is at bottom):

All trail users are responsible for watching and listening for others. Traveling on the right side of the trail removes indecision about the proper side on which to pass. Always ask for and get permission if you must pass on the left. Slow down significantly and use caution at curves and junctions. Surprises are not safe – it doesn’t matter what you are riding.

Yield to a horse and rider. Be sure the horse has seen and heard you; give the horse adequate room to pass.

A hiker should call out a friendly hello and request that s/he would like to pass. The horse rider may need to pull over, to provide the safest position to the hiker. If the rider has his horse under control, proceed; if not, allow the rider to move his horse beyond you.

Motorized recreation vehicles can usually be heard coming, and the horse rider may be well out of the way. If not, please shut off the motor and allow the rider to get a distance beyond you before starting up. Turn off engines any time a horse appears nervous. Ask the rider what you can do to help.

Bicycles are quiet and not heard by horse or rider. Speak out so the horse hears a human voice. It may be necessary for the bicyclist to remain stopped, allowing the horse and rider the opportunity to get out of the way, before proceeding.

Promote a positive relationship with a friendly greeting. Calm, pleasant conversations reassure the animal that all is ok.

A horse rider may choose to move his horse on without stopping. This is not a lack of courtesy but a decision on how best to control the animal. Or the rider may request that you continue past. Ask the rider to advise you.

From: This is a good site with trail maps, etc.

If you have any ATV safety related information that you think should be part of this page, please feel free to send it in to the webmaster via the link on our contact page.