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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 5:06 pm 
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Still on the Trailer Member

Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2003 8:51 pm
Posts: 39
Location: SoCal
Hi, I work as a firefighter paramedic in a desert town in So. Cal. I wanted to post this as a consideration, not really a warning, to those that own or are currently considering owning an RUV type OHV. Read on and ponder...

A lot of people use the desert where I work for recreation, I also do; our family personally owns a number of quads, two motorcycles and a golf cart that we use to put around in the desert and at Pismo (Oceano....sorry...) Dunes, and I feel akin to those that come to my city to enjoy their autumn weekends playing in the dirt. I ride often after the end of my shift and have had many, many fun days in the desert. My concerns arise as a result of a growing number of injuries sustained while people, many times kids, are driving these vehicles, RUV's as they're currently being called, about and flipping them, frequently catching an arm or leg in the process. We fly people out on "big" weekends generally, but we're starting to see a segment of that population, associated with this type of vehicle use, rising.

I'm not sure why this is the case. I can guess that the experience level of the driver has something to do with it (or the in-experience level...). I also think the minor modifications that are done to the vehicles after market, may have a factor in this as well. Whatever the reason, we're starting to see injuries with these things and that's why I write this.

I remember in the eighties, when I owned my first OHV, a Honda 200x three-wheeler, a big movement to end the production/importation of these types of bikes in the US had started; I also remember myself riding my bike, quickly, after having spent quite a bit of time to really learn how to drive it. I didn't subscribe to the feelings about banning the ATC's then, and I don't feel that way about the RUV type vehicles now, but I do feel compelled to say these things in the name of safety:

-Know your vehicle, know it's limits, especially before you do advanced stuff with it.
-If you modify it, understand that its performance will change (like its center of gravity... or speed around a corner...); take this change in consideration when you allow a beginner or a novice behind the wheel... this is one very basic thing a responsible owner of an OHV can do.
-Don't let kids drive it... and if you do, monitor them, don't just let them take off without any supervision. Their reaction times are slower, their experience levels aren't typically all there; they're easily distracted in pairs (or groups, depending the seating situation of your vehicle) and they're (if your kids are a bit like mine...) a bit nutty... pushing the speed envelope when they get a chance, until something crappy happens. I know there are manufacturer age recommendations for the use of OHV's(we don't typically listen to them, right?)... just look after your kids.
-Don't let beginners take the vehicle out by themselves; take the time to sit there with them and show them what you've learned; what to look out for and what the vehicles limits are.
-Follow helmet laws and whatever local laws there are regarding the use of your vehicle...
-Don't drink and drive (... I don't even know why people even consider doing that nowadays, given the legal ramifications associated with getting caught... but I guess they still do...).

Folks, I'm all for racing about and having fun in the desert or where-ever, I'm not for curtailing the use of ANY OHV, but I sure would love to see people enjoying these vehicles in an upright, natural state, instead of seeing the people that drive them, or their passengers, being flown to the closest trauma center to treat closed head injury, collapsed lung or busted spleen. Frankly, I've seen this type of thing a lot and it really sucks to see a family pack their stuff up and head to a hospital in the middle of a great weekend because Johnny's just been flown out of the desert and we're just not sure if he'll survive. Sounds drastic, but I've done it.

Just be careful out there... for your sake and for others.

Hope your adventures are fun ones. Thanks, I'm done.


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