ATV Safety Week is just around the corner, and the provincial riders association is reminding people to be safe while off-roading in order to avoid sparking wildfires.
While a June 2 gathering in Regina officially kicks things off for the Saskatchewan All-Terrain Vehicle Association (SATVA), they’re reminding people to be aware of the extremely dry trail conditions.
“When things are as dry as they are, we suggest that ATV riders don’t go through long grass, dry grass,” SATVA General Manager John Meed said. “There’s the potential for stubble and grass and things like that to collect around hot areas like exhaust pipes.”
He said a quad which is not equipped with a spark arrester on the tail pipe is also a potential fire hazard, and asked riders to check their vehicle for built up grass or stubble to reduce the risk of starting a fire.
Other provinces in Canada have implemented bans on riding off-road vehicles during extreme fire risks, but Meed said such a drastic measure doesn’t need to be considered in Saskatchewan.
“Going down a managed and groomed trail normally won’t cause you any issues,” Meed said.
Meed's advice comes after a wildfire broke out during an ATV rally near Holbein earlier this month. Although the cause of the fire has not yet been determined, the blaze reached 2,400 hectares in size and forced two temporary evacuations in Crutwell.
Meed said ATV safety week is a national and international movement designed to raise awareness about responsible and safe riding practises. Safety tips and proper protection equipment are highlighted during the week.
Meed recommended people avoid doubling up on their ATVs, as the additional weight changes the machine’s centre of gravity which can make it easier to roll the vehicle during quick maneuvers. For young riders, he recommended using a vehicle which is the appropriate size. Children should not be operating adult-sized machines because they’re not strong enough and lack the dexterity to use them, he said.
Children under 12 years old are not allowed to ride on public roads or trails, Meed noted, and youths aged 12 to 15 can only ride ATVs under the supervision of someone who’s had a valid driver’s license for at least one year.
Meed said no one should operate their off-road vehicles while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
"We've seen some bad situations coming out of that," Meed said. "With any motorized vehicle, once you're impaired, you can't do the things you have to do."
On Twitter: @BryanEneas
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