Buying your ATV
- A good start is to choose a machine that has a quiet engine while still giving you the smooth ride and performance you want. The bigger the machine, the more negative impact it could have on the environment.
- Check with the store where you bought your ATV to be sure that it meets environmental standards. For example, some companies that manufacture ATVs have ISO 14000 certification, which indicates that they design and manufacture their vehicles according to stringent international environmental standards.
If you are systematic about maintaining your ATV , your vehicle will perform better. You’ll also burn less fuel and make less noise. Keep these tips in mind:
Driving with respect
If you get to know your environment and focus on being courteous, you’re already well on the road to being a responsible driver. Here are some basics to consider:
- Check a map and see exactly where you are going. This way you can avoid crossing any areas that are environmentally sensitive, such as marshes and meadows.
- Be sure you know about any restrictions, particularly government- designated environmentally- sensitive areas.
- Never run over young trees, shrubs and grass.
- Don’t block trails when you stop your ATV; there may be hikers and campers behind you.
- Stay away from wet roads which are easily damaged by ATVs. This is particularly important in busier periods such as hunting season.
- Never blaze new trails with your ATV; this could heavily damage any forest life.
- Avoid spinning your wheels on any terrain; this cuts down on any damage to the terrain.
While driving your ATV, you may come across wildlife in park areas, horse trails or even livestock from local farms. Consider these tips:
- If you encounter horses and riders on trails be courteous. They should be given the right-of-way.
- Avoid startling cattle; give them the time to move off your trail.
- If you find an open or closed fence on a farmland, leave it that way.
- Never feed any wild or farm animals.
- Respect signs that identify endangered animal species; you’ll often see trail markers.
Build a positive relationship with others
When you’re driving your ATV, particularly in park areas, you should also develop a positive rapport with other people you encounter, such as landowners, campers and hikers.
- Get permission to use any property, public or private. Many parks strictly prohibit the use of ATVs inland but will permit it on roadsides.
- If you come across campers and hikers, be as quiet as possible and respect the fact that they are there to escape noisier city life.
- Be friendly with people and share environmental tips.
- Pick up any litter and don’t leave garbage behind; be sure you leave the site with what you bring.