Reproduced with permission from ACC
Body position has a big influence on the stability of an ATV (all-terrain vehicle or three or four-wheeled farm bike) when cornering.
- At slow speeds move your hips towards the outside of the turn and put more weight on the outer footrest.
- As speed increases, you will find you need to shift your weight to the outside of the turn to a lesser extent in order to get the ATV to go around the corner.
- At higher speeds move your hips to the inside of the turn and put more weight on the inner footrest
- To transfer enough weight to the inner footrest, you may have to become "active" and "stand" on the footrests.
Coping with slopes
Body position has a big influence on the stability of an ATV (all-terrain vehicle or three or four-wheeled farm bike) when riding on sloping ground.
The steeper the slope the more you will need to move your body weight.
- When riding across slopes, move your body uphill to counteract the weight shift of the ATV.
- When riding straight up slopes, move your body forward to reduce the chance of the ATV flipping backwards.
- When riding straight down slopes, move your body back to counter the forward movement of the ATVs weight.
Body position has a big influence on the stability of an ATV (all-terrain vehicle or three or four-wheeled farm bike) when negotiating difficult corners and step slopes.
The key to being a good ATV operator is:
- Knowing where to shift your bodyweight
- Knowing when to become "active"
- Knowing how to use your body weight has the most influence on the stability of the ATV.
Steep slopes, rougher ground and faster speeds mean you have to move more often and to a greater extent. This is called "active riding".
- In situations where you need to shift weight forwards, backwards or to one side, you will find it easier to stand on the footrests or plates. This will give you more freedom of movement in all directions.
- The trunk of your body (including your hips) has the greatest ability to affect weight distribution on an ATV.
- By standing, you can move more of your body weight, which has a greater effect on the stability of the machine.
Attachments, loads & towing
Many ATVs (all-terrain vehicles or three or four-wheeled farm bikes) have front and rear-mounted carriers and can have sprayers and fertiliser spreaders fitted.
- Do not exceed the manufacturer's recommended loading of these carriers and make sure the load distribution is as even as possible.
- Any weight added to the ATV will make it more difficult to control.
- Loads added to the carriers (e.g. spray tanks) will make the ATV less stable on slopes.
- In some cases, it may be better to trail the load rather than mount it on the ATV.
The trailer needs to be loaded correctly to achieve the right balance of weight. You should try to have about 10 percent of the total trailer weight and its load on the drawbar of the ATV.
If there is too much weight on the drawbar, the ATV will be difficult to turn. If there is too little weight, the trailer will not tow well and may reduce traction on the rear wheels. This is especially dangerous when travelling downhill. You should also be aware that the drawbar weight can be dramatically affected when riding up or downhill.
- An ATV trailer (100kg) with 8-9 bales of hay (200kg) will have a gross weight of 300kg. Ten percent of that (30kg) should be on the drawbar.
Children and ATVs
ATVs (all-terrain vehicles or three or four-wheeled farm bikes) are stable machines - it is the limitations of the riders that cause the accidents. Children, for instance, often lack the judgement, skills and strength to safely operate full-sized ATVs.
- Skill and judgement are needed so a rider knows when to be active and when to remain passive.
- Strength and weight are needed to maintain the stability of the ATV while riding on steep or rough ground, and to influence the stability of the machine. This explains why carrying passengers is so dangerous.
- The fact most children lack the skills and strength to safely operate a full-sized ATV can be seen in statistics which show half the fatalities involving ATVs in New Zealand are children under the age of 12.