Our Maine Street's Aroostook Issue 5 : Summer 2010 - Page 44

Maine Game Wardens Want You Safe One of the most serious concerns of the Maine Warden Service is the number of riders and passengers who are injured or die as a result of unsafe riding practices. Many times ATV riders feel if they are just riding around the house or if they are planning on riding at a slow speed, they do not need protective gear. Some of the most serious crashes occur near the home or at very slow speed. The following are a few basic safety rules to ensure your ATVriding experience is a safe and enjoyable one. Check the Rules and Laws Know the rules and laws. Trail signs indicate hazards, and are for your safety. Safety is important when riding your ATV. Plan Let a family member or friend know your travel route and stick to the plan. Every year the Maine Warden Service is called to searches that where the result of changed plans. Family members were not made aware of the change in plans. Before leaving the house or camp, check the weather forecast and make sure you are prepared for inclimate weather or sudden storms. Being caught in the rain on an ATV without warning can make riding unsafe. Gear-Up Wear the proper safety gear when riding your ATV. Goggles, gloves, a helmet, and protective clothing should always be worn. Additional gear such as elbow and kneepads or over the ankle boots are also smart to wear. Not only does this protect you, but allows you to have a fun time with less risk! Also, do not forget to pack a snack. Bring a Friend Never go riding alone on your ATV, because you never know what could happen. If your ATV rolls and you are injured, having a friend to go get help can be useful. Bring a cell phone and stay in areas with service. Follow Precautions Always follow the guidelines and cautions for your particular ATV. For example, if your ATV is a one-passenger, never ever have more than one passenger riding on that particular machine! Also, make sure you check weight restrictions and follow them diligently. Slow Down The faster you go, the less likely you are to notice potholes, branches, rocks, cables, and other hazards in or on the trail. Keep a safe pace when you are in an unfamiliar area to assure your safety. It is also imperative to keep a safe distance between other ATV r