Kids Riding ATV’s – Is It Safe?


Growing up in the foothills of Tucson, I was fortunate to have access to desert trails and areas where you could shoot your bb gun and ride go karts without being disturbed or disturbing anyone else (too much).

The photo above is of a similar model to my Honda 110 ATC I had when I was 14. I had traded for it with a mini-bike I had. The mini-bike was fun but I knew it was underpowered. As you can see from the photo the ATC had large oversize tires to soak up the bumps since there was no suspension.

I had a great time with this trike and as part of the deal with my parents I wore a helmet (most of the time). The first rule I learned was, unlike a motorcycle, you never put your food down when riding an ATC or ATV or your foot will get sucked under the tire. As anyone who rides will attest, there are some lessons you might learn the hard way like how steep of an incline you can climb and what angle as well as how fast you can take a turn. By going through a safety course you can learn these lessons the right way without injuring yourself.

I’m not sure anyone really went over the rules with me for riding and fortunately I came away unscathed. My dad rode motorcycles and since I could remember I would ride on the back of the bike with him. I never see kids riding on the back of motorcycles anymore, maybe times have changed?

Here’s a photo of a kid riding an ATC but doing everything wrong. No helmet, no shoes, no pants. I pulled this ATV riding tips from a safety brochure and they are really great reminders of how to evaluate if a kid is ready to ride an ATV and also how to properly ride an ATV.


As you can see from this photo, kids under the age of 16 were marketed too by manufacturers and are still to this day. Every child is different and there are some 18-19 year olds who aren’t physically or mentally ready to drive a motorized vehicle but some 12 year olds who could do it.

Do you think kids should ride ATV’s? If you do make sure you follow this checklist.

All-Terrain Vehicle Injury Prevention Checklist

□ Attend an ATV driver’s safety course.

□ Never use a 3-wheeler. They are unsafe and no longer

□ Ride an age-appropriate ATV. The American Academy of Pediatrics
recommends that no one under 16 years of age ride a full size ATV.

□ Provide constant supervision when children are operating an ATV.

□ Never carry passengers. ATVs are designed for one person.

□ Do not use ATVs on the streets or at night.

□ Always wear an approved helmet with eye protection.

□ Wear non-skid, closed toe shoes.

□ Wear long pants and a long-sleeve shirt.

□ Never operate an ATV under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

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  • MissionDan
    22 Mar ’13 at 6:41 am

    They dont manufacture the raleigh chopper anymore either, that dont mean its unsafe, i would argue that kids are more likely to have an accident on two wheels rather than three, its a case of knowing a bike, trike or quads limits and staying within them.