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Here’s what every ATV rider should know about trail etiquette

ATV Trail Etiquette

People who ride ATVs may not be the types to raise their pinkie fingers when they drink tea, but they do have their own rules of etiquette. Whether you’re a novice or seasoned rider, you should always follow the code of the trail, as serious enthusiasts are committed to staying informed about responsible ATV use.

To get you up to speed, here’s how to ride responsibly when you set out on your next adventure on a Honda ATV.

Use designated trails

Rules and laws around riding ATVs vary from region to region, so before you get out on the trails, check where and when you’re allowed to ride. There are lots of trails designated for ATV use, many of which are free to use, and others that charge admission. There are also privately owned trails that you can use if you get permission from the land owner. If you’re looking for a trail in a particular area, head over to TrackShare, where people are constantly discussing available trails. There are plenty of enthusiastic riders on the forums who are eager to share the ins and outs of ATV adventuring.

Be aware of your surroundings

Even on a designated trail, you may find yourself in areas that are shared with others. Be aware of who else is in the area and how your presence may affect them. For example, some trails might go by campgrounds or trails for hikers, so you might want to shift down a gear or two to cut down on noise and dust. Everyone deserves an opportunity to appreciate the great outdoors, and you should always respect others who are enjoying nature.

Respect wildlife

Backroad trails may be your playground, but for some animals, they’re home. So leave the areas you ride through intact. Don’t ride in a way that damages plants or animal habitats, and don’t feed or interfere with any wild animals you may come across. Being out in wild spaces means you might have some amazing animal sightings—just be sure to treat wild animals as you would when you’re on foot, giving them a wide berth and plenty of respect.

Offer the right of way

With great power comes great responsibility. If you cross paths with non-motorized outdoor enthusiasts like hikers, cyclists, and horseback riders, try to safely pull over on the side of the trail and let them pass. Horses in particular can get spooked by motorized vehicles, so do everything you can to help keep them calm. And when you come face-to-face with another ATV rider, slow down to safely pass one another respectfully, using hand signals to clearly communicate your intentions.

Don’t leave any trash behind

Does this even need to be said? Just in case it does: bring a bag with you (or attach a fender bag to your ATV) to bring your garbage and recyclables back home when you’re done riding. And to show the trail a little extra respect, you could even take a moment to pick up any stray garbage you come across. No one wants to spend time in woods that are littered with bottles and wrappers.

Keep the trail in good condition

Your ATV’s four-wheel drive makes it great for tackling rough terrain, but in certain circumstances, it can also create rough terrain. In particular, ATVs can damage wet paths, making them less fun and tougher to navigate for other vehicles, so if you’re on a shared path, avoid spinning your wheels or roaring over wet ground. It takes a vast amount of effort to maintain trails and trail systems for everyone to enjoy, so riding sensibly will help keep them in good condition for future rides.

No gratuitous engine-revving

Yes, your Honda ATV is powerful, and you want to show the world. But trust us, no one likes the person who creates a needless racket in the woods when others are nearby. The best way to wield power? Humbly.

To learn more about finding the right ATV for your next adventure, head over to atvsxs.honda.ca.