Like other activities involving high speeds and heavy machinery, riding an ATV can be risky. To help stay safe, follow common sense safety tips.

Safety Tips

Take a hands on safety course: Formal training teaches drivers how to control ATVs in typical situations. Drivers with formal, hands-on ATV training have a lower injury risk than drivers with no formal training.

Always wear protective gear - especially a helmet: Many ATV injuries are head injuries. Wearing a helmet may reduce the severity of these injuries. Select a motorcycle or other motorized sports helmet and make sure the helmet is certified by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and/or the Snell Memorial Foundation. In addition, wear over-the-ankle boots, goggles, gloves, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt to protect against cuts, abrasions, and other injuries from rocks, trees, and other debris.

Do not drive ATVs with a passenger or ride as a passenger: The majority of ATVs are designed to carry only one person. ATVs are designed for interactive riding – drivers must be able to shift their weight freely in all directions, depending on the situation and terrain. Interactive riding is critical to maintaining safe control of an ATV especially on varying terrain. Passengers can make it difficult for drivers to control the ATV.

Do not drive ATVs on paved roads: ATVs – because of how they’re made – are difficult to control on paved roads. Collisions with cars and other vehicles also can be deadly. Many fatalities involving ATVs occur on paved roads.

Do not permit children to drive or ride adult ATVs: Children are involved in about one-third of all ATV-related deaths and hospital emergency room injuries. Most of these deaths and injuries occur when a child is driving or riding on an adult ATV. Children under 16 on adult ATVs are twice as likely to be injured as those riding youth ATVs.

Do not drive or ride ATVs while under the influence of alcohol or drugs:  Alcohol and drugs impair reaction time and judgment, two essential skills for safe ATV use.

Reporting Accidents

If you are involved in an accident that results in the injury or death of any person, or property damages to the estimated amount of $100 or more, you must report the matter in writing within seven days to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Forestry, PO Box 8552, Harrisburg, PA 17105. It is a violation of the Snowmobile/ATV Law not to report an accident.

If involved in an accident, you must stop and give your name and address, the name and address of the owner of the vehicle and its registration number to the other person(s) involved in the accident or to a police officer.

Accident forms are available upon request from the Snowmobile/ATV Section, Bureau of Forestry, Bureau of State Parks and State Police stations. You may also download the form by clicking the following link:

Snowmobile / ATV Accident Report Form (8170-FM-FR0061) - Adobe PDF (172 Kb)


More Safe Riding Tips

  • Always maintain a safe distance between riders. Tailgating can lead to collisions and injuries.
  • Ride with others and let someone know where you are riding. Never ride alone.
  • Obey the laws.
  • Stay on trails designated for ATVs.
  • Be informed of local weather conditions and dress and equip yourself appropriately.
  • Know the area you are riding in. Be aware of its potential hazards.
  • Always ride at a safe and responsible speed. Know your abilities and don't exceed those levels.
  • Make sure your equipment is in top working order; check before heading out.
  • Carry a map of the trail or area you intend to travel.
  • Carry a first aid kit.
  • Use common sense.

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