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ATV Safety Training

ATV safety training will enhance your understanding of basic ATV operation and safe riding techniques. When you know and understand safe riding techniques for ATV operation, you can utilize the training to avoid hazards. Riding safely requires you to take responsibility for your own actions, the riding environment, and the operation of the ATV. Look at riding as an activity requiring the interaction of three things: personal ability, ATV capabilities, and environmental or terrain conditions.

Frequently asked questions:

Why do I need ATV safety training?

ATV Safety Training Photo ATV Safety Training will enhance your understanding of basic ATV operation and safe riding techniques. When you know and understand safe riding techniques for ATV operation, you can utilize the training to avoid hazards. Riding safely requires you to take responsibility for your own actions, the riding environment, and the operation of the ATV. Look at riding as an activity requiring the interaction of three things: personal ability, ATV capabilities, and environmental or terrain conditions.

California Vehicle Code §38503 states no person under age 18 shall operate an ATV on public lands unless satisfying one of the following conditions:
  • They are taking a prescribed safety training course under the direct supervision of a certified all-terrain vehicle safety instructor.

  • They are in possession of an appropriate ATV safety certificate issued by this state or issued under the authority of another state.

  • They are under the direct supervision of a parent or guardian, or an adult authorized by the parent or guardian, who is in possession of an appropriate ATV safety certificate issued by this state or issued under the authority of another state.

  • In addition, riders under the age of 14 must either possess an ATV safety certificate or the adult supervising the rider must possess an ATV safety certificate. NOTE: No matter who possesses the ATV safety certificate, all riders age 14 and under must be supervised by an adult.

  • Riders age 14-17 may ride without adult supervision, but must possess an ATV safety certificate.

How do I qualify for free ATV safety training?

ATV Safety Training Photo
  • Many ATV manufacturers offer free ATV Safety Training for all individuals who have purchased a new ATV. This free training is also available for the purchaser's eligible family members. Call the ATV Safety Institute (ASI) at 800-887-2887 to find out what steps you need to take to enroll in a course and to determine your eligibility.

  • If you purchased a used ATV, youth under age 18 may be eligible for free ATV Safety Training through a program funded by the OHMVR Division. The Division contracts with ASI to provide the training for all California youth under the age of 18 who otherwise do not qualify for the manufacturer-sponsored training. Enrollment in this program is also accessed by contacting ASI at 800-887-2887.

Image of ATV Safety Training Card

When and where are ATV safety training courses offered?

How much will the ATV safety training course cost if I do not qualify for free training?

$150 - applies to all adults who do not qualify for free ATV safety training.

What curriculum is covered in the ATV safety training course?

The half-day class is conducted by certified ASI instructors and offers riders the opportunity to increase their understanding of basic ATV operation and safety riding techniques in a controlled environment under the direct supervision of a certified instructor.

Students practice safe riding techniques with hands-on exercises:
  • Starting and stopping
  • Turning (both gradual and quick)
  • Negotiating hills
  • Quick stops and swerving
  • Riding over obstacles

The course also covers:
  • Pre-ride inspections
  • Recommended protective gear (DOT approved helmets, gloves, over-ankle boots, googles, long pants, long-sleeve shirts or jackets, etc.)
  • Environmental concerns
  • Local laws

Each successful student receives an ATV RiderCourseSM completion card immediately following the class and an ATV RiderCourseSM Handbook which reinforces the safety information and riding techniques covered during the class. ATV safety training certificates are mailed to the successful students at a later date, while the ATV RiderCourseSM completion card suffices until the certificate is received.

NOTE: A person in possession of an appropriate safety certificate issued under the authority of another state satisfies the condition for operation of an ATV in California.

Do I have to bring my own ATV?

  • You may bring your own age and size appropriate ATV if you choose.

  • Loaner ATVs may be available at the training site. You must contact ASI in advance to make arrangements for loaner ATVs.

What are the guidelines for age and size appropriate ATVs?

The ATV driver must be able to safely reach and operate all vehicle controls (CVC §§38304, 38304.1).

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued the following recommended guidelines for consumers to use when purchasing ATVs for youth:

Age 6 and older: Under 70cc
Age 12 and older: 70cc - 90cc
Age 16 and older: Over 90cc

Model year 2009 and future models:
ALWAYS Follow the Manufacturer's Minimum Age Recommendation Warning Label on the ATV.

[Note: Click on each image to view a larger version of the label.]

Under 6 Warning Sticker

Under 10 Warning Sticker

Under 12 Warning Sticker

Under 14 Warning Sticker

Under 16 Warning Sticker

Under 16 two up Warning Sticker