‘Know your equipment’: Experts offer ATV and UTV safety tips ahead of summer

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (KWWL) – As the weather gets warmer, we may see more off-road vehicles, better known as ATVs (all-terrain vehicles) and UTVs (utility task vehicles).

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ATVS AND UTVS

ATV = Typically, there is one rider. You use a handlebar to steer.

ATV

UTV = Typically, there are multiple seats. You use a steering wheel system. There may be a cage.

UTV
SAFETY IS KEY

KWWL met with DR. Power Sports in Cedar Falls.

Jarrod Sheets is the General Manager. He said he’s been riding his entire life.

Sheets said off-road vehicles can be fun, however, they can be dangerous if you don’t ride them responsibly.

He said his biggest piece of advice is to know your equipment. He said you should be comfortable stopping, shifting your body weight and riding in different environments.

Every ATV and UTV comes with an instruction manual. Sheets encourages his customers to carefully look over the different rules regarding speed, terrain and passengers.

“You need to ride with what you’re comfortable with and your capabilities. If 10 miles per hour scares you, go five miles per hour. It’s that simple. Don’t try to see how fast you can go because that’s when you lose control,” he said. “You’re not familiar with that situation and that’s when the accident happens.”

While you may be going a short distance or riding on private property, Sheets said you must always wear safety gear. That includes a helmet, gloves, long sleeves, pants, boots, eyewear and a seatbelt.

“Take that time. Put that safety gear on. It’s that one time that you think, ‘I don’t need it.’ That’s when it happens. Or, just that one little reckless behavior. It’s when you’re not ready for it is when it happens,” Sheets said. “So be ready for [an accident]. Think about what you’re doing. Put the gear on, and enjoy it every time.”

EDUCATION

When riding in public parks and trails, you must follow the rules set by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

You can find their rules and regulations on their website. Click here for more information. 

In our state, if you’re between the ages of 12-17, you must pass an ATV education course to ride. You’re required to carry your certificate with you when riding in public areas.

The Iowa DNR also offers education and training courses for riders. Click here for more information. 

RIDING ON THE ROAD

Some places in our viewing area allow ATVs and UTVs on the road.

Every county and township has different rules.

Before riding, Sheets encourages you to contact your local law enforcement.

Olivia Schmitt

Olivia Schmitt

Morning Reporter at KWWL
More News
StormtraCk 7 Weather
Waterloo
68°
Cedar Rapids
66°
Iowa City
69°
Dubuque
67°
Decorah
66°
Charles City
66°
Washington
68°
Prairie Du Chien
69°
Connect with KWWL
Top Stories
Scroll to top
Skip to content