Public trails are a gift to ATV riders. However, with that gift comes a level respect that every ATV owner and enthusiast is expected to uphold, whether it’s posted publicly or not. We call it riding etiquette, and it’s universal for us. For those who are new to writing or just never learned the expectations, here are the rules for riding an ATV on public land.

Respect the Rules

Every riding trail and public location has its own set of rules regarding hours, where you can ride, and where not to ride. Pay attention and follow the rules. They are set in place for many reasons, including to keep you safe, preserve the area, and keep the surrounding wildlife protected.

Always ride in the middle of the trail. This will help you avoid widening it. Also, make sure you never litter. Instead, bring a bag you can store it in and take with you so you can dispose of the waste properly at the end of each ride. If you see trash lying around, be a good samaritan and pick it up.

We’re expected to be good ambassadors, so man up (or “woman” up) and show respect for those who gave you the privilege to ride of public or private property.

Respect Nature

Slopes can be tempting, but there’s a reason the steep inclines and erodible areas are off limits. The same goes for wetlands, which are common among the swampy Florida terrain. You don’t want to end up in an accident just because a dangerous area was “too tempting to pass up.” You can find your thrills and still be safe.

The same goes for animals and vegetation. Use your common sense when riding. Not all trees and shrubs are found in the “off limits” area, but if you find small vegetation on or near the trail, don’t run it over. Go around it. You are in Mother Nature’s delicate habitat, after all, and everything in it has a part to play in the local ecosystem.

Respect Other Riders

ATV riding doesn’t just require you to respect the rules and the trail. It also means respecting other riders who are out there enjoying the great outdoors, too. If you plan to overtake other riders, be patient and follow at a safe distance until they signal that it’s okay to pass.

When you do go around them, be mindful of others by avoiding stirring up dust and gravel when you pass. A little bit of throttle can shower them in unwanted debris.

Always yield to the right of way, whether they’re hikers, horseback riders, or other ATV enthusiasts. If you see horses, the courteous and cautious thing to do is to pull over and shut off your engine. This will help you avoid spooking their mounts.

Tips brought to you by Gator Sports, your go-to showroom and service department for all things ATV in Southwest Florida. A well known Polaris Dealer, we offer some of the best new models as well as flawless custom designs.