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Figure 3. ATV equipped with a sprayer and boom.

When loading an ATV, try to keep the machine well balanced. Balancing an ATV often requires adding weight to the front of the machine to counterbalance loads on the rear. Also balance loads crosswise to keep the ATV from “pulling” to one side. Secure tools in a fashion that allows the rider to safely operate the machine.

Many ATVs are equipped with drawbars to pull trailers and are capable of pulling large loads. However, they are not designed with enough braking power to stop large loads. Riders should not pull more weight than their ATV can safely stop. There should also be a good balance between trailer and tongue weight (Figure 4). Excessive tongue weight can put too much weight on the rear axle, making the ATV difficult to maneuver. It can also cause the ATV to tip over backwards. Insufficient tongue weight can allow the trailer to try to lift the rear of the machine.

Mounting sprayers on ATVs can allow access to areas that may be too wet for regular equipment. ATV sprayers are also handy in brushy areas. Treat sprayers as a load on ATVs, and always counter balance them. Exercise caution due to shifting liquid in the tank which could cause the ATV to become off balance on turns.

Give proper respect to the chemical are using and follow all safety precautions on chemical labels. Clean the ATV thoroughly when the sprayer removed.

Figure 4. A properly loaded ATV trailer has a good balance between trailer load and tongue weight.

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Summary

In essence, the key to ATV safety is the rider, and an ATV is only as safe as its rider. So, understand the machine and be aware of basic riding skills and safety rules before you start to ride.

Pre-Ride Checklist:

( ) TIRES: Always maintain proper pressure inthe tires and be sure all tires are inflated to the same pressure. If the pressure in a tire is not the same as the tire opposite it, the ATV may be difficult to manuever. ATVs have low pres- sure tires (usually 2 to 6 psi) and require a low pressure tire gauge, an automotive gauge will not work. Also check tires for cuts or gouges that could leak or cause a blowout. ( ) WHEELS: Make sure axle nuts are tight and secured with a cotter pin. Lug nuts should also be tight and none should be missing. ( ) BRAKES: Always make sure all brakes are working properly before rideng. Check the cables and linkages to insure they are moving smoothly. The controls should be positioned so that they are easy to reach and use. ( ) THROTTLE: The throttle should operate smoothly and snap back to the idle position when released. Make sure that turning the handlebars from left to right has no effect on throttle operation. If it does adjustments should be made immediately. If the ATV has a throttle limiter make sure it is appropriately adjusted for the rider. ( ) LOOSE NUTS OR BOLTS: Riding on rough terrain may cause nuts and bolts to loosen. While the engine is off, check for loose nuts or bolts. ( ) FOOT SHIFTER: The foot shifter should be firmly at- tached and positioned in a way that shifting is comfort- able. If the shifter is pointed toward the ground the foot is in a position where it could easily be caught and pulled to the ground, possibly causing an accident. ( ) LIGHTS AND SWITCHES: The ignition switch should be functioning properly before riding. The kill switch should be working properly because it could prevent an accident. All lights must be workingwhen riding at night, but they also make riding during the day safer. ( ) OIL AND FUEL: While the engine is off, check the oil level. An engine cannot operate for long without oil. Always check fuel level before starting a long ride. Make sure that there are no fuel or oil leaks. ( ) CHAIN OR DRIVE SHAFT: Check the chain for proper adjustment (refer to owner’s manual) and lubrication. Also check for improper wear. If the ATV has a drive shaft instead of a chain make sure it has the correct amount of oil and does not leak. ( ) TOOL KIT: Make sure ATV is equipped with complete tool kit, supplied by the manufacturer.

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