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 ATV Safety Class Held in Silver Bay

For over a decade, the Silver Bay Police Department has held an ATV training for youth. Started under former Chief of Police Doug Frericks, the training provides a way for the police department to interact with lo­cal youth, as well as provide an important service to the community.

The ATV class is for youth ages 10-15. Anyone born after July 1, 1987, is still re­quired to take an online safety class, but is exempt from the hands-on riding portion. The police department hopes for every young person in the community to take the course to learn how to safely operate an ATV. Chief of Police Cole Ernest points out that, even if a family doesn’t have an ATV, the child may potentially operate one later in life, and by taking the course they are equipped to safe­ly operate an ATV, no matter when that time occurs.

ATV riding seems to be increasing in pop­ularity. Since 2019, there has been a 12% up­tick in registered ATV owners in Minnesota. With the uptick in ATV usage comes the add­ed risk to youth who are eager to go riding.

What do Minnesota youth need to know be­fore riding an ATV? Children under the age of 18 are required to wear helmets as an ATV operator or as a passenger. Youth under the age of 15 must have parental permission to operate an ATV, and there are regulations con­cerning youth crossing certain public roads. Operators may drive on public land only if they have a safety training certification and are accompanied by someone 18 years old or older with a valid driver’s license. Minneso­ta also has a fit requirement, instructing that children aged 10 to 15 only ride a machine they can safely handle. Some ATVs have a high center of gravity, built for an adult sized operator instead of a child, and a child oper­ating an ATV with a high center of gravity can lead to rolling the machine.

This year’s ATV class was held on May 26. The online portion of the class costs $24.95, and there is a fee for self-certification after youth complete the free riding portion. The ATV Certificate becomes valid at age 12. The hands-on training includes basic ATV opera­tion, environment protection, common ATV parts and controls, Minnesota rules and laws, responsible trail riding skills, as well as prac­tice demonstrating those skills on an ATV course.

One family followed up the class with an ATV ride out to Twin Lakes, a way to both implement new skills learned and to have some fun. “I loved it and I learned so much!” one girl said. “The teachers were nice. And I got to go on an ATV ride after.” Another stu­dent commented, “I enjoyed it! It was educa­tional.”

Thank you to the Silver Bay Police Depart­ment for bringing this intersection of educa­tion, safety, and fun to local youth.

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Haley Searls
Haley Searls
Hello! My name is Haley Searls. I’ve loved writing from an early age, though my nonfiction writing at five years old consisted mainly of weather and gardening reports. I still have some of those early articles: “It’s sunny.” “It’s still sunny.” “It’s raining.” I’m glad to say my writing has improved since then. I wrote a guest post for the Silver Bay Public Library blog, and was the writer/editor of the newsletter for my American Heritage Girls troop. I have been writing for the North Shore Journal since June 2022. Besides writing, I love reading, drawing, photography, music, and spending time with family and friends. Two books that have really influenced my writing are Reforming Journalism by Marvin Olasky and Writer to Writer by Bodie and Brock Thoene. As a journalist, I want to share positive community interactions and inspire people to make lasting connections. Article topics that interest me are ones which show community activities and involvement. Such articles include community events, youth accomplishments, library programming, small businesses, local history, local artists and authors, art programs, and cultural events such as theater and dance. If you have an article idea, email the North Shore Journal with my name in the subject line! I look forward to hearing from you!
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