ATV Adventures: New adult OHV certification correlates with T.R.E.A.D. Lightly
The new adult OHV certification course has been in effect for a full eight months now and the feedback from the OHV community, county officials and law enforcement has been positive. One county commissioner made the observation that people seem to be calmer on the trails.
In researching today’s article, I reviewed the course with a neighbor who needed to have his own certificate. I was pleased to be reminded of the correlation of this course with the principles of the T.R.E.A.D. Lightly program.
Those principles are:
- T — Travel responsibly.
- R — Respect the rights of others.
- E — Educate yourself.
- A — Avoid sensitive areas.
- D — Do your part.
By taking the adult certification course, you certify that you understand and endorse these principles.
The course goes into the principle of respecting the rights of others more extensively by spelling out rules for riding in neighborhoods. The harmonic note sounded by the engine of a UTV will reverberate off homes on subdivision streets and penetrate the walls of those homes. If you cruise down one of these streets with the heavy beat of a large subwoofer, the fireworks of Katy Perry and a few engine revs — you will have just leaked your fun onto a world of peace and quiet. I guarantee that you will not come out the winner in this scenario.
Having taken this course, you will know to drive the speed limit, keep your music inside the UTV and move quietly down the street without revving your engine.
Over 200,000 riders have taken the certification course and it is making a difference. I commented in an earlier article about the Sunset Ride on the Arapeen Trail System [Standard-Examiner, June 29] that the guides made a point of going through the puddles on the trail instead of trying to find a way around them. Of course, it helps to know that these guides knew that we could negotiate these obstacles.
When a rider finds a way around a problem on the trail, it widens the trail unnecessarily. That widening is called “braiding” and it takes away from the beauty of the trail for others.
Going off the trail through the woods to find a way around a hindrance creates a new trail. If you are traveling in a group, it doesn’t take many riders following you to make a trail that looks legitimate. Riders who come later and follow your track will make it worse.
A water hazard might look daunting, especially when you can’t see to the bottom. If you don’t have a guide who knows the trail and if you don’t want to risk diving in, stop and find a stick long enough to test the depth. I have come to some that looked too deep, but it’s more likely that they are safe because it is a designated trail.
Another thing the course covers that I don’t see happening enough is communicating with oncoming traffic on the trail. The rule is to let those approaching you know how many are riding with you in your group. The lead rider should hold up his hand showing with his fingers the number of riders following him. Each subsequent rider will hold up one less finger. The last rider will hold up a fist indicating that no one is behind him.
If there are more than five riders, the lead rider will hold up five fingers showing that there are at least five in the group. Each following rider will also show five fingers until you come to the fourth rider from the end. He will show four fingers and the following riders will show one less finger until the last rider holds up a closed fist. You don’t want to flash 25 fingers for your large group; that is too many to count in passing — and besides that, your hands will have been off the controls for too long and that will not end well. It is also important to know your place in the line.
The course also covers the importance of picking up trash on the trail. I got a nylon mesh trash bag from Motoroof — the people who make mesh roofs and rear window screens for UTVs. I also carry a grabber tool. On a leisurely ride, I will pick up unsightly trail trash. When you go, take plenty of water, keep the rubber side down, and now that you have your certificate, ride responsibly.
Contact Lynn R. Blamires at firstname.lastname@example.org.