Is your child thrilled by the rumble of motors? Are they gritty, active, and an adrenaline-seeker? If they’re of age to fulfill all the legal requirements, they just might be ready to get into the sport of ATV riding.
A wholesome way to have fun, ATV riding is a great way to teach a child responsibility on their own accord. If they don’t look after their machine, it will certainly let them know about it!
As a parent though, you may not know where to even begin allowing them to enter the riding lifestyle. How can you judge if they’re ready for the hobby? How can you make sure they stay safe?
CFMOTO, an ATV company and side by side manufacturer, is here to help!
Here’s a short guide to helping your of-age child dip their toes into what could be a lifelong source of thrills – and hard-earned lessons.
Is Your Child Ready?
As you probably already know, there are state-specific legal requirements that must be met before your child can operate an ATV or side by side.
These laws exist to maintain the safety of riders everywhere and are a necessary indicator of “readiness.” Your child should pass all the requirements in age and knowledge before they get into motorsports.
However, as kids all develop at their own pace, it’s not the only indicator that they’re ready for the responsibility of an ATV or side by side.
Do they make safe decisions around their peers?
Does your child always wear their helmet when going out biking with friends? Better yet, do they remind others to do the same?
Are they the type to stop younger kids from crossing the road when it’s unsafe? If your child can prioritize safety around other kids, it can be another solid indicator that they’re ready to pursue ATV or side by side riding.
Peer influence is a very real thing among kids of all ages, and yours should be willing to set a positive example on their vehicle by modeling the proper safety procedures – even if those procedures are deemed “uncool” by the fellow young riders they will meet.
Not only will this give you peace of mind, but it will teach your child about the importance of sticking to one’s values.
How is their risk-taking level?
ATVs and side by sides do require a certain level of confidence to ride, and they can certainly help build it, too! If your child is a little nervous when first getting started, that’s perfectly understandable.
However, riders who are too standoffish can actually end up in trouble. Hesitating for too long when tackling tricky terrain on the trail, for example, can lead to an ATV or side by side getting stuck.
To truly be ready for riding, your child should, to some degree, be ready to power through things that they are afraid of.
At the same time, too much cockiness can also lead to problems. Trying to show off and tear up mud by accelerating through it, for example, can actually dig a vehicle into a hole and also get it stuck!
It’s not necessary for your kid to be perfectly balanced between the two to begin riding; ATVs and side by sides are great teachers. But they can’t lean excessively one way or the other, or they risk damaging their vehicle or injuring themselves.
Getting Started: Sports & Equipment
Broadly speaking, there are two types of ATV and side by side riding styles: on-track and trail riding.
- Track riding often involves jumps, speed, competition, and adrenaline
- Trail riding often involves exploring and navigating unfamiliar obstacles with care and forethought
Your child should be free to choose whichever sport speaks to them. To find ATV events and other track opportunities, search for local leagues, which can also help you to find classes that help your child boost their speeds while staying safe in the driver’s seat.
Trail riders can also take advantage of clubs to explore new areas in their state and meet new people.
Required Safety Equipment
Regardless of how fast your child will be riding, they should be outfitted for protection, just like any other ATV or side by side rider – even if that means you’ll need to invest in new gear as they grow.
Make sure they pick out, at minimum, the following safety gear:
- An ATV or side-by-side helmet
- A long-sleeve shirt (it doesn’t need to be made specifically for motorsports)
- Sturdy pants
- Riding gloves
- Quad-style boots
- Goggles (if their helmet doesn’t come with adequate face protection)
How to Teach a Kid to Ride an ATV
Once you’ve determined that your child is old enough and responsible enough to start riding ATVs, you need to ensure they can learn to do so safely. Just like with anyone riding an ATV for the first time, there can be a bit of a learning curve.
Every new rider needs to learn the ins and outs of riding these vehicles. But, this process is a bit harder for a child, especially one who isn’t old enough to drive a car yet.
Still, you can teach your child to ride an ATV and make sure they are safe. Here are some tips to help you instruct them.
1. Teach them the rules & controls before they ride.
While your kid might not enjoy hearing all the rules, it’s important they learn. Depending on their age, you can try to make this process fun with visuals or treats. Go over the ATV controls with them so they know how to accelerate and brake.
2. Start around your driveway & neighborhood.
When your child is first learning to ride, keep them close to home and never leave their side. Make sure you are walking along with them if they are a younger child. As they get more experienced, you can let them go further distances.
3. Set up an obstacle course.
For younger children, learning how to steer is vital. But, this doesn’t have to be taught through a boring lesson where they sit and listen to you give a lecture. Instead, make learning to steer fun by setting up an obstacle course in your driveway or in any other safe area that’s away from other vehicles.
As they grow their skills, their ATV confidence will increase, and overall, you want them to be confident. Not too timid and not too reckless.
4. Be patient & calm.
Teaching children to do something new, especially something that can be potentially dangerous, is sometimes stressful. You might be worried about their safety or frustrated when they don’t listen. But, while it is difficult, they will listen better and enjoy riding more if you are patient with them.
Check Out Affordable & Safe ATVs From CFMOTO USA
If your child is ready for motorsports, you want a vehicle that will take care of them on the trails and track, while also staying within budget. CFMOTO USA is proud to provide just such machines.
Use our CFMOTO Dealer Locator now, and discover what our brand can offer you and your family!