Transcript for Matching the Rider to the Ride
Rob: Now this is a sweet ride. So is this the ATV that you would choose for her? And for that matter, is this the ATV that you’d choose for yourself?
Haley: And that’s a tricky question because it all depends on the rider. There are different age categories for ATVs. Now, why do you think that is? Is it to reduce accidents from kids riding ATVs too large for them? To match riders’ physical abilities with the machine? So they can reach and handle all the controls? So the rider can maintain proper riding positions?
Rob: Of course, all of these are right. All right, so here is the bottom line. Now, you’re probably going to want to get on that machine. Because you see, matching the rider to the machine gives the rider more control, and that just means less accidents. Oh, don’t worry. It’s not that confusing. Here’s the deal.
On screen: Choosing the ATV Engine Size
- Ages six to 11: under 70 cc.
- Ages 12 to 15: between 70 and 90 cc.
- And ages 16 and older: over 90 cc.
Haley: And here’s a really easy way to match a rider with the ATV. Just look for the age sticker, also known as the Y-code system. This one is a Y-6, or Youth-6. It’s for riders age six and up.
Rob: So that is a great starting point, but common sense is also an important part of the equation. So say you were an adult and you were helping choose an ATV. What else would you have to consider? Well, that’s right. Just like adults, kids come in different sizes. So use this rule of thumb. When a child stands on the footrests, the top inseam of their pants should be a minimum of three inches above the seat so they can maintain proper balance when they’re riding. And when seated, their thigh should be about parallel to the ground. And their foot needs to be long enough to reach the brake by rotating the foot on the footrest. Hey, because if you can’t brake properly, that’s a serious problem.
Haley: And don’t forget the arms. You want to make sure your arms are long enough to turn while keeping a good grip. The child should also be able to control the throttle during turns and operate the brake lever while gripping the handlebar.
Rob: All right, so now it’s your turn to discover the other variables.
Strength and Weight
Besides reaching the controls, a child needs the strength to operate them properly. For example, a child should be able to squeeze the brake lever firmly in an emergency. Also, the child should have the strength and weight to keep from being thrown off the ATV in rough terrain.
We all like to think our kids are above average. But we need to set pride aside and honestly judge if our child is coordinated enough for the challenge of riding an ATV.
Youth Rider Realities
Children up to the age of 16 are at risk when operating ATVs because, well, they perceive distances to be greater than they actually are, they have a shorter attention spans than adults, they react more slowly than adults, they believe that products purchased by their parents are safe, they get into trouble trying to imitate friends showing off skills or stunts, and they take risks—particularly boys—and perceive less danger in those risks than adults.
Haley: So whether you’re shopping for your first ATV or you’re helping someone choose the right machine for them, consider a sensible combination of engine size, age category sticker, and the ability of the rider.
Rob: So get suited up, grab your helmet, because we’re getting ready to crank these things up and hit the trail.