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THE OPEN OUTDOORS: ATV AND TRAIL RIDING

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There are many ATV trails all over the United States with many in North Carolina. ATV trail riding has recently increased in popularity, but all this fun comes with serious risk. Over 700 people are killed in ATV accidents every year in the US with approximately one-third of those being under the age of 16. Many of these accidents could have been prevented with proper safety training and equipment for the rider. North Carolina's law places age restrictions on ATV operation and on what types of vehicles a person can operate. A child under 8 years old cannot operate any ATV. Children between 8 and 11 years old can drive an ATV with an engine power of 70 cc or less. Lastly, children between 12 and 15 years old can use an ATV with power of 90 cc or less.

As you head out for a day of trail riding make sure all ATV riders wear a DOT-compliant helmet, goggles, long sleeves, long pants, over-the-ankle boots, gloves and follow these simple safety rules:

• Never ride on paved roads except to cross when done safely and permitted by law - another vehicle could hit you. ATVs are designed to be operated off-highway.

• Never ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

• Never carry a passenger on a single-rider ATV, and no more than one passenger on an ATV specifically designed for two people.

• Ride an ATV that is right for your age.

• Supervise riders younger than 16.

• Ride on designated trails and at a safe speed.

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