Jed Boal ReportingMore and more of us are exploring the mountains and deserts on off-highway vehicles, or OHV's. But many have never had the training necessary for a safe ride.
OTV training is required for anyone eight to 15 years old who wants to ride one on public lands. Four hours of training can mean the difference between a great time and a trip to the hospital.
It’s one of the fastest growing sports in Utah. The number of ATV riders has nearly tripled in five years to more than 150,000. Many are new-comers, many are kids who need to take a spin with an instructor.
Eric Stucki, Utah OHV Training Specialist: “We want them to know what their machine's abilities are, and we want the parents to be able to see what the child can do and can't do on that machine.”
Children are required by law to take the course. They learn the proper use of safety gear and get a look at ATV's small enough for children, and those only adults should handle. 4-H is on board to work with farming families.
Kevin Kesler, Utah 4-H: “We're concerned about private lands, farms where kids are riding ATV’s where they have not been trained, and in most cases the ATV’s are much too big for the kids."
Last year five thousand kids were certified and 20,000 since the program began in 1987. But parents should not have any apprehension about this training, it is a lot of fun.
Eric Stucki: “It's a day you just don't sit in the class. It's a day you get three to four hours of riding experience."
Sadly, 12 people die each year and 4,000 are injured in OHV crashes. Last year more than 200 victims were four years old or younger. The department of health urges families not to include kids under eight, not even for a ride.
Cyndi Bemis, Utah Department of Health: “They are not toys. They are motorized vehicles and carry all the risks any other motorized vehicle does."
Call 1-800-OHV-RIDE or follow the link on our website to order the home study book and get started with learning more about the safe and fun use of four wheelers and other OHV's.