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Got a new ATV or UTV for Christmas? Safety is the key!


With Christmas season coming to a close, many area youth and adults are now ready to enjoy their gifts.

For some, those gifts have four wheels and a key, and they fall under the categories of ATV or UTV vehicles.

ATV, which is short for all-terrain vehicle, is a four-wheeled vehicle usually designed for a single rider.

UTV, which is short for utility task vehicle, is also known as a side-by-side. UTVs are designed for multiple riders, usually two or three.

Allen Phelps, who owns Greenville Equipment Center and who sells both ATVs and UTVs, says while there are major differences between the two types of recreational vehicles, the one thing they have in common is the need to follow safety regulations when operating them.

“We are selling these vehicles to adult drivers,” said Phelps. “You have to be over nineteen years old to purchase one, and no one under sixteen should be operating these.”

Phelps says there are several safety guidelines people need to be aware of when operating these vehicles.

“On an ATV sale, there is a list of things we go through with the customer,” said Phelps, “about the operation of it and the safety part of it and the recommendation of wearing a helmet.”

Phelps says when he sells an ATV, he goes through a form that checklists how purchasers should properly handle the vehicles.

He also shares information with customers about the free ATV Safety Institute training course for ATV owners. That information can be found at

The ATV Safety Institute’s Golden Rules for ATV usage include wearing helmets and googles, never riding on paved roads except where permitted by law, never riding under the influence of drugs or alcohol, never carrying a passenger on a single-rider ATV, riding an ATV that is right size for the person’s age, supervising drivers under the age of sixteen and driving at a safe speed.

While different from ATVs, UTVs also must be handled carefully and safely.

According to Phelps, UTVs come with many built-in safety features.

“When you buy a Polaris Ranger, it comes with seatbelt and shoulder harness,” said Phelps. “For the last five years or better, they all come with side door nets.

“Beginning in 2016, our vehicles were equipped with an operator lockout, which basically limits the speed of the vehicle to fifteen miles per hour unless you are wearing a seatbelt and shoulder belt.”

Phelps added that he is always willing to discuss ATV and UTV safety with drivers and riders of these vehicles.







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