Follow the ‘Golden Rules’ when you drive an ATV


Driving an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) can be an exhilarating experience for Scouts and Venturers. To ensure everyone has a fun, safe time, you must adhere to the “Golden Rules.”

First, Scouts and Venturers ages 14 and older may drive ATV equipment only at council-run ATV programs after receiving safety instruction from a trained instructor. Unit use of motorized vehicles, including ATVs, is prohibited.

Instructors can be found at select camps, where Polaris, the official ATV provider of the Boy Scouts of America, annually donates ATVs to provide ASI Safety Training and off-road adventures.

Part of that training is making sure the “Golden Rules” are followed. Polaris is a member of the ATV Safety Institute and strongly encourages the institute’s “Golden Rules”:

  • Always wear a Department of Transportation-compliant helmet, goggles, long sleeves, long pants, over-the-ankle boots and gloves.
  • Never ride on paved roads except to cross when done safely and permitted by law.
  • Never ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Never carry a passenger on a single-rider ATV. In the BSA, passengers are never permitted.
  • Ride an ATV that’s right for your age.
  • Supervise riders younger than 16; ATVs are not toys.
  • Ride only on designated trails and at a safe speed. Follow speed limits and trail conditions for which they are meant to operate.

Certain ATVs are designed for riders as young as 6 — riders that young shouldn’t be operating an adult-sized ATV. For Scouts, riders must be at least age 14 to be in the Scouts BSA ATV Program, and any rider must be supervised. The BSA’s Barriers to Abuse and two-deep leadership always apply.

They must also ride at BSA-approved, council-run ATV programs. Participants, as well as any ATV user at camp, like staff, must complete ATV safety training (see section FA-711 of the National Camp Standards).

The camps offering an ATV program this year are:

ALABAMA

CALIFORNIA

COLORADO

CONNECTICUT

DELAWARE

FLORIDA

ILLINOIS

INDIANA

KANSAS

KENTUCKY

LOUISIANA

MASSACHUSETTS

MICHIGAN

MINNESOTA

MISSOURI

MONTANA

NEBRASKA

NEW JERSEY

NEW MEXICO

NEW YORK

NORTH CAROLINA

OHIO

PENNSYLVANIA

RHODE ISLAND

SOUTH DAKOTA

TENNESSEE

TEXAS

VIRGINIA

WASHINGTON

WEST VIRGINIA

WISCONSIN

More tips

For more ATV safety tips, check out these resources:

BSA safety moment on ATVs

BSA ATV safety program

ATV safety rules

Polaris Ride Safe program tips

About Michael Freeman 350 Articles
Michael Freeman, an Eagle Scout, is an associate editor of Scout Life and Scouting magazines.