The European ATV Safety Institute (EASI) is a not-for-profit organisation who deliver a programme of safety education, training and awareness for ATV riders in the UK. They also provide a Side-by-Side (UTV) training and awareness course.
The primary goal of EASI is to provide and promote the safe and responsible use of ATVs and UTVs to help reduce the number of accidents and injuries that often occur due to improper practise.
ATVs can be a fun form of transport and utility vehicle, however without the correct safety precautions accidents can happen. Therefore it is vital that all ATV users, of all ages, follow the basic safety rules when riding.
Check out the video below for an insight into safe ATV riding from EASI.
It is important to always wear a crash helmet and other protective clothing to help prevent injury. The most important piece of protective gear that should always be worn is a crash helmet. A good helmet can help prevent serious head injuries in the event of an accident.
Deciding on the right helmet can be tricky as often the colour, design and price can influence the decision, but it is important to remember that protection should be the first priority. A full-face helmet will provide the best protection as it covers much more of the face. The next option that provides adequate protection is the three-quarter (open-face) helmet. This design of helmet does not offer protection to the mouth and chin so it is highly recommended that it is used with a separate mouth and chin protection.
In order for a helmet to offer the best protection possible, it must fit properly. It should fit snugly but comfortably and be securely fastened – if it is not fastened securely then the helmet will be no good in the event of an accident.
If you are not fully sure on what helmet to buy, talk with your local Polaris dealer to gain a better insight into making your decision.
Alongside a crash helmet it is important that eye protection is worn. By having the correct eye protection, visibility is increased and therefore means for a safer ride. Riding without eye protection can be dangerous, a rock or twig or even bug could easily hit, causing a distraction or result in an injury that leads to blindness. To avoid this, a face shield or goggles will protect you.
For the ultimate protection, the face shield or goggles should be free from scratches and manufactured to BS4110 OZA; be securely fastened. You may choose to have multiple options of eye protection for the conditions you are riding in, such as: tinted for riding on bright days; clear for night riding; yellow toned for overcast days.
Gloves are also important when riding a UTV/ ATV; they should aim to protect your hands from getting sore, tired or cold as well as offering protection in the event of an accident. Off-road style gloves provide the best all-round protection.
When out riding, the absolute minimum of protective footwear should be over-the-ankle boots with a low heel to help prevent your feet slipping off the footrests. To get the best protection for your feet, ankles and legs, off-road style over-the-calf ATV or motorcycle boots are highly recommended.
Finally, to protect your skin from cuts and scrapes, you should wear a long sleeve jersey, shirt or t-shirt as well as long trousers. By wearing all the kit recommended it will help protect against injury if an accident were to occur.
Being aware of your surroundings and understanding your vehicle is the key to riding safely. The best way to learn how to ride your ATV/UTV safely is through the EASI Rider Safety Training Courses. By attending one of the courses you are able to learn the correct safety techniques in a hands-on experience so that you can translate it to real life situations. EASI offers separate safety courses for Side-by-Sides and ATVs. Each course is both practical and enjoyable; teaching safe riding techniques and covers the importance of safety clothing and protective equipment. It also offers pre-ride inspections, risk assessments and environmental issues.
Riders are expected to supply their own ATV’s for EASI’s training. For any riders under the age of 16, they must be riding the machine that is appropriate for their age.
Each ATV course will cater for a maximum of eight adults ( or six children if under 16 years) each rider will receive their own Rider’s Course Handbook. The whole session lasts around four and a half hours and consists of sixteen lessons within that time frame. All sessions end with a wrap up and review where Student Performance Evaluation forms are distributed to help highlight any areas or skills that may require further practise.
EASI also offers a SXS DriverCourse that gives riders a hands-on, outdoor experience that consists of both practical and theoretical elements. Alongside teaching safe driving techniques, the course discusses protective clothing, equipment, pre-drive inspections, risk assessment and environmental issues.
Not only does EASI offer training for SXS and ATVs but they also offer a Generic Loading, Towing and Reversing (GLTR) module; corporate training for Police, Military and Coastguard organisations as well as coaching qualifications. They also offer training programmes that promote a responsible approach to environmental and countryside issues; ATV Dealer Education programmes for the leading six manufacturers (Honda, Kawasaki, Polaris, Suzuki, BRP and Yamaha) and some 1000 individual dealerships across the UK.
Although you may have been riding an ATV or SXS for many years, going for a refresher course is always beneficial. By attending a refresher course, riders can be reminded of the importance of wearing protective personal equipment and how to carry out a pre-ride machine check.
Anyone who has bought a new or used Polaris ATV or UTV from a Polaris authorised UK dealer is eligible for free or highly subsidised EASI rider training, subject to qualifying terms, conditions and availability.