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How big is your ATV? One size does not fit all

School has begun – which means cooler weather, hunting season and ATVs are just around the corner. Rapides Regional Medical Center’s Trauma Services wants to ensure that you and your family stay safe while enjoying the outdoors on your ATV.

That’s why RRMC is teaming up with Loewer Power Sports in Alexandria during their Sales Tax Holiday event on Sept. 2.

Rapides Regional Medical Center Trauma Services staff will be in the Loewer Power Sports showroom from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 2 with ATV safety information – plus, they’ll give away one adult-sized ATV helmet and one child-sized ATV helmet.

“Safety starts with helmets, training and knowing which ATV is right for you,” said Donna Lemoine, RN, BSN, Rapides Regional Medical Center’s director of trauma services. “We are teaming up with Loewer Power Sports to help keep you safe and prevent trauma related injuries by providing an ATV riders safety course and printed safety booklets.”

ATVs are made for all ages and sizes, but picking the right one is important for the safety of the ATV operator.

“As a parent or a guardian of a young rider you are expected to be the teacher, coach, and safety supervisor,” Lemoine said. “ATVs are not ‘one size fits all.’ Approximately 90 percent of youth-related ATV injuries occur when a child under the age of 16 is operating an adult-sized ATV.”

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission shows that 92 percent of all ATV- related fatalities are the result of warned against behaviors.

“That includes – not wearing a helmet, riding on public roads, carrying a passenger on a single rider ATV, riding the wrong size ATV, youth riding unsupervised, and riding with no formal ATV training,” Lemoine said. “That holds true with the injuries we see at Rapides as well.”

What is an ATV?
An ATV is any motorized off- highway vehicle designed to travel on four low-pressure tires, having a seat designed to be straddled by the operator and handlebars for steering control. Single rider ATVs are intended for use by a single operator and no passengers. Two-up ATVs are designed for an operator and one passenger. It is important to remember that ATVs handle differently from other vehicles, such as motorcycles and cars.

Before riding an ATV, you should first consider the “Golden Rules” of ATV safety and outfit yourself with the protective gear necessary for ATV riding, such as goggles, helmet, boots, long pants, long shirt, gloves and long-sleeved shirt.

The ATV Safety Institute’s Golden Rules

  • Always wear a helmet and other protective gear
  • Never ride on public roads – another vehicle could hit you
  • Never ride under the influence of alcohol or other drugs
  • Never carry a passenger on a single – rider vehicle
  • Ride an ATV that’s right for your age
  • Supervise riders younger than 16; ATVs are not toys.
  • Ride only on designated trails and at a safe speed.
  • Take an ATV Rider Course

Riders should also be aware of the correct riding posture needed when using an ATV,” Lemoine said.

Correct Riding Posture

The correct riding posture will help you to easily operate the controls and help you react more quickly when shifting your body weight. Proper straight line riding posture includes:

  • Head and eyes, looking well ahead
  • Shoulders relaxed, elbows bent slightly out, away from your body
  • Knees in toward the gas tank
  • Feet on the footrests, toes pointing straight ahead

“It’s a lot to remember, but that’s why training classes and ATV instruction are so important,” Lemoine said.

You can download a free ATV Safety pamphlet at www.atvsafety.org

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