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Stay safe while riding ATVs in the woods this fall

Whether you're a hunter bagging a deer or just mud-riding with a group of friends, the mild temperatures now make autumn the perfect time to explore the Kentucky woods on all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).

But before heading out, riders should make sure that they are abiding by all laws and safety precautions. The following suggestions can help you have a safer ATV-riding experience.

Wear the right gear

DOT-approved helmets protect riders from traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Accidents that occur to riders who aren't wearing any head protection can be catastrophic. It's also important to wear goggles to protect your eyes from low-hanging branches and flying debris.

Long-sleeved shirts and pants made of denim or other sturdy fabrics should be worn. Riders need boots that come over the ankle to protect the feet when the inevitable spills occur, and gloves help protect exposed hands and fingers.

Respect the woods

Make sure that you have permission to ride on the property if you don't own it. If it's public land, only ride on approved trails. During hunting season, anyone who is in the woods on foot or wheels should wear hunter's orange to avoid getting shot. Stay out of posted areas.

If you cross through a gated fence, close and lock it behind you to keep any livestock from escaping. ATV riders should yield the right-of-way to those on horseback or hiking. Pull off the trails and turn off your motors when horses pass to avoid spooking them.

Give wildlife a wide berth. Remember that the woods are home to many species. Most will avoid encounters with humans whenever possible.

Don't ride ATVs when drinking or impaired by drugs — legal or otherwise. Follow all state and local laws, including not operating an ATV on streets and highways.

Protect your right to compensation for injuries

If you wind up injured while riding an ATV due to another person's negligent actions or unsafe driving behaviors, you may choose to pursue a claim for damages. Act swiftly to preserve your rights under Kentucky law.

Source: League of Kentucky Sportsmen, "ATV Safety In Kentucky," accessed Oct. 13, 2017

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  • Kentucky Justice Association
  • Kentucky Bar Association 1871 Lex Ordo Justicia
  • United States District Court Western District Of Kentucky
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