The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department  reminds parents that the second requirement of a two-phase all-terrain vehicle safety program became effective January 1, 2012 for youths younger than 16 riding ATVs on public lands.

Riders on public lands under the age of 16 must complete both the online course and a hands-on training course designed for the type of ATV or off-road motorcycle they ride.

Phase 1 of the program was introduced in January 2009, after the Oregon Legislature passed safety legislation introduced by rider groups in 2007. Phase 1 requires anyone operating an ATV on public lands in Oregon to carry an ATV safety education card, demonstrating that they have completed a free online safety awareness course (http://www.RideATVoregon.org). Over 190,000 ATV enthusiasts have completed the course since it was introduced. This requirement is still being phased in; by 2014, all riders on public lands, regardless of age, will need to complete the safety course and carry their ATV Safety Education Card.

Phase 2 began on January 1, 2012, when riders on public lands under the age of 16 must complete both the on-line course and a hands-on training course designed for the type of ATV or off-road motorcycle they ride. When they have completed the second training, they will be sent a new endorsed ATV Safety Education Card. The cost of the course and its duration can vary depending on which organization is providing the course. OPRD is working with several of the non-profit providers to pay the majority of the out-of-pocket expense for the parents.

The ATV safety requirements are designed to cut down on injuries to young riders. "Anyone who rides an ATV knows that they can be dangerous. Learning how to ride an ATV safely, demonstrates a respect for the machine and its capabilities," said John Lane, OPRD's ATV Safety Education Coordinator.  Lane emphasized that the safety requirements pertain only to public lands in Oregon, not private property.

In the last two years over 4,500 youth received their training endorsement. "We have a long way to go, but we're ready." says Lane.

If a youth rider has already completed hands-on training and the online safety awareness course, they may apply for a new card with the endorsement at http://tinyurl.com/c8wlg95

To find a hands-on training provider, go to OPRD's training locator at www.rideATVoregon.org/training. For questions or to have forms sent in the mail, call the toll-free ATV hotline: 1-877-7SAFELY (877-772-3359).