Off-Road News Get in the Safety Groove Thirteen people died riding ATVs in Minnesota last year with April and October being the deadliest months at three deaths apiece.The riders ranged in age from 10 to 76. Another 242 were injured. “Riding ATVs can be an enjoyable form of outdoor recreation when done properly,” said Jon Paurus, DNR enforcement education program coordinator. “If people take a safety training course, reduce speed and abide by current regulations, fewer accidents will occur.” Anyone born after July 1, 1987, and who operates an ATV on public lands and waters in Minnesota, must successfully complete the ATV safety training CD course. People under age 16 must complete the ATV CD course and riding component before riding on public lands.Youth and adult ATV training CDs are available by calling 800-366-8917 or 888-646-6367. A few simple safety rules and regulations can prevent most accidents. Remember: • ATVs are not toys and can be hazardous to operate. Supervise young riders at all times. • ATV operators less than 18 years old must wear an approved safety helmet, except when operating on private property.To prevent head injuries, everyone should wear a helmet. • An ATV handles differently from other vehicles. Even routine maneuvers, such as turning and driving on hills and over obstacles, can lead to serious injury if the driver fails to take proper precautions. With preparation and practice, operators can safely develop and expand their riding skills. • Youth need to “fit” the machine. A 60- to- 120 pound youth and a 400-pound ATV are a mismatch. • More information can be found in the 2014-2015 Off-Highway Vehicle Regulations booklet at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/regulations/ohv/ index.html. Swapped MN4WDA held its annual swap meet at the same location (Anoka County Fairgrounds in Anoka) and at the same time of year (early April), but one thing changed: the organizing club. The LWT club, which had held the event for several years, passed it along to the newly formed North Star Jeep Club. “We were at a MN4WDA meeting and it came up that the LWT would like to step down,” said Tim Schulze, member of the North Star Jeep Club. “We volunteered, as many of us live in the Cities and we, as a club, want to give back to the sport we love.” The early April date has caused weather headaches in the past, but April 11 this year came with sunny skies and warm weather.There were about 100 swappers and 400 lookers and buyers. It was one of the largest, most successful swaps ever, according to MN4WDA Vice President Geoff O’Brien. There were some lessons learned for next year, such as increasing the number of portable restrooms, Schulze said, and a more organized effort to sell MN4WDA memberships.That said, 30 people signed up or renewed their membership at the swap. 12 MINNESOTA OFFROAD