Groups join to provide ATV training
The American Desert Foundation (ADF) and the All Terrain Vehicle Safety Institute (ASI) are teaming up to train and certify ATV owners to be off-road operators.
The certification is required of those who wish to ride their ATVs legally in the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area (ISDRA) and in the open deserts of California.
“They are going to be learning safety regulations and California state requirements for certification, which is what the classes fulfill,” said Bill Jones, chairman of ADF.
“These classes are put on through a partnership between (ADF) and the ASI, which provide free training for the purchaser of ATVs so they can get hands on and very personal training absolutely free.”
The classes will be offered in three separate areas of ISDRA — Glamis, Gordon's Well and at the base of the Superstition Mountains. All three places are open to ATVs.
“We currently have classes being offered in the (ISDRA) in the north and south dunes, but this is the first time this is being held in the Superstition area so people in the west desert will have access to these courses,” said Nicole Nicholas Gilles, executive director of the American Sand Association.
“There are a lot of people who recreate on the hard desert, not necessarily on the sand, so this class being offered in this location is great because it will allow more access for people to make sure their kids get certified.”
The grand opening class for the Superstition location will begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday.
The other locations will begin hosting classes on Nov. 12 and 13.
Training in the north ISDRA will be held in the fenced Glamis Dunes Storage Property.
Training in the south dunes will be held at Duners Dinner dirt parking lot.
Training at the Superstition Mountains will be just off of Wheeler Rd.
The half-day ATV Rider Course is conducted by licensed ASI Instructors, and offers students an opportunity to increase their safety knowledge and to practice basic riding skills in a controlled environment under the direct supervision of a licensed instructor.
The instructors will give each student personal attention, Jones said.
“It is all hands-on training.”
According to ASI, the goal is to educate the public, especially parents and children under 16 years of age, about safe ATV operation and how to be an environmentally responsible ATV rider.
“It is extremely important, and kids have to be certified,” Nicholas Gilles said. “It's the law. We are trying to make it easier for people to have access so they can have a safe recreation experience. By following the law and instilling good judgment on our children, we can reduce accidents.”
The classes have already had a positive effect on course graduates, Jones said.
“This is our second year of classes, and since we have put on these classes the accident rate for children has dropped dramatically. There is a cause and effect. Last year we trained approximately 250 kids, and this year we anticipate training 750.”
The students will practice basic safety techniques with hands-on exercises covering starting and stopping, turning, negotiating hills, emergency stopping and swerving, and riding over obstacles. Particular emphasis is placed on the safety implications related to each lesson. The course also addresses protective gear, environmental responsibility and local laws. Participants will receive the ATV Rider Course Handbook, which reinforces the safety information and riding techniques covered during the ATV Rider Course.
Individuals six years of age and older may take the class. Riders younger than 16 are restricted to ATVs of the appropriate size recommended for the rider's age.
There are special teaching provisions for students under 16 years old, and parents are encouraged to attend as well. Students younger than 12 participate in separate classes and a parent must be present during the entire course.
The course is free for new owners of ATVs, but those who are borrowing ATVs may need to pay $150 for the course. All students must provide their own vehicle and equipment.
For more information, log on to americandesertfoundation.org. To register, call 1-800-887-2887.
ATV Safety Training at Imperial Sand Dunes:
Three sites for the 2010-2011 season include Glamis Beach Store Vendor Area, Duners Diner (South Dunes/Gordon's Well) and Superstition Mountain.
A special grand opening class will be held on Oct. 30 at Superstition Mountain only.
The rest of the 2010 classes will be held on Nov. 12 and 13 (Veterans Day), Nov. 26 and 27 (Thanksgiving) and Dec. 31 and Jan. 1, 2011 (New Year's).
The 2011 classes will be held on Jan. 14 and 15 (Martin Luther King Jr. Day), Feb. 18 and 19 (Presidents Day), March 4 and 5, April 1 and 2 and May 6 and 7.
All classes start at 8 a.m.