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MSF and ATV Safety Institute share rider safety tips

As customers gift electric bikes, dirt bikes and ATVs during the holiday season, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) and ATV Safety Institute share the importance of gifting gear and training as well. Gear and training help riders stay safe, have fun and ride their best.

Age matters when it comes to powersports and ATVs, so the organizations encourage riders to check the manufacturers’ labels for age-appropriate vehicles for kids 16 and under.

“Riding gear not only helps protect a rider, but it also looks cool,” says Andria Yu, MSF coach, DirtBike School coach and an ATV Safety Institute instructor. “Especially for kids — they can feel like a superhero with their helmet and armor. And adults will appreciate today’s high-tech, fashion-forward protective wear. Plus, gear make the perfect accessory gifts, so they’re easy to add to a wish list.”

Riding gear

Helmet – Look for Department of Transportation-compliant helmets (for both street and off-road riding), which have a DOT sticker on the back. These helmets have passed an impact test, penetration test, retention strap test and peripheral vision test. Note that helmets need to be fastened securely to protect as designed.

Eye protection – Use proper off-road goggles or make sure your helmet has a flip-down face shield. Sunglasses and regular eyeglasses can’t protect from dirt and dust.

Full-fingered gloves – keep hands protected from rocks, branches and other debris.

Over-the-ankle boots – Motorcycle or ATV-specific riding boots offer the best protection, but sturdy boots that have ankle protection, such as over-the-ankle hiking boots, can be used as well.

Protection for the arms and body – When riding off-road, scrapes from branches, rocks and other elements are common, so armor, such as chest protectors, back protectors and shoulder and elbow guards are great to have. Riders should wear a long-sleeve shirt, jersey or jacket to protect the skin. If riding on the street, many riding jackets come with armor and are made of abrasion-resistant material.

Protection for the legs – Many off-road riders choose hip protectors and knee/shin guards or braces. Long, sturdy riding pants are a must. Street riding pants often include knee armor and are made of abrasion-resistant material.


And while riding gear offers great protection, the best protection comes from proper training.

“If someone has little to no riding experience, a training class is the best way to start,” Yu says. “The Motorcycle Safety Foundation offers DirtBike School for ages six and up, and the ATV Safety Institute offers hands-on ATV RiderCourses for kids and adults. There are also free online ATV eCourses for everyone, and for street motorcycle riders, the MSF offers the Basic eCourse and Street Strategies eCourse for a small fee.”

Training not only helps riders learn the fundamentals of controlling their vehicle and riding in various terrain, it helps them understand the risks and how to reduce them. For experienced riders, training is a great way to refresh skills and learn new tips. “Having good judgment, learning smart riding strategies and understanding trail etiquette is the best way to ensure many years of fun,” Yu says.

Direct customers to the ATV Safety website for information about the free hands-on ATV RiderCourse for the entire family.


For tips, practice guides and additional information, including how to look over vehicles before a ride, how to properly put on a helmet and how to ride in groups, direct customers to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation website or the ATV Safety Institute website.

Online courses are available through these links:

ATV Safety Institute’s eCourses: Free, self-paced, interactive online training programs

Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s eCourses: Basic eCourse, Street Strategies eCourse, and more

E-Bike Smart: Electric bicycle rider safety education program created by PeopleForBikes, the League of American Bicyclists, and Bicycle Colorado

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