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ATV riders in the state of Iowa who are ages 12 through 17 are required to have taken and passed an ATV education course and have an education certificate in their possession when riding on public land, public ice, and designated riding areas and trails, if these areas are signed open to ATV use.
The focus of the DNR ATV Education Program is to provide an education course that reduces the rate of accidents, injuries, property damage, and fatalities, while at the same time promoting the development of environmental stewards by educating our students about environmental concerns, energy conservation and proper maintenance of ATVs, and promoting the practice of only riding in legal areas and with landowner permission.
There are three ways that residents can earn an education certificate:
DNR ATV Education Program Skills Course
This is a rider-based course and is approximately 4-6 hours in length. It is designed to be completed in one day, usually on a weekend. It is a program designed to teach ATV riders the principles and behaviors of safe and responsible ATV riding. Students are taught about risk awareness and risk mitigation, trail etiquette, and principles of being a good environmental steward. The riding portion of the course provides students with hands-on practice in the areas of steering, braking, swerving, maneuvering over obstacles, and how to react to and ride safely with other riders on the trails.
Students must provide their own properly-sized ATV with proper muffling equipment, a helmet, eye protection, over-the-ankle boots, long pants, a long-sleeve shirt, water, a snack, and rain gear as classes are held rain or shine.
Students must be able to safely demonstrate all of the skills taught in the class in order to earn their education certificate. A written exam is not part of this course.
Classes are taught by DNR-certified volunteer ATV education instructors. The cost of the class is $25.00. Students will receive a temporary education certificate at the end of the course which will allow them to legally ride in Iowa until their permanent card is received.
Education certificates will only be issued to students who are 12 or older and pass the course. Students who are 11 may take the course and earn a certificate, but it will not be effective until he or she turns 12.
Classes are offered between late April/early May until the end of August/early September.
ATV Safety Institute (ASI) Course
This is a rider-based course offered by ASI-certified instructors. ASI is a nonprofit operating division of the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (SVIA), which was formed in 1988 to implement an expanded national program of ATV safety education and awareness. The primary goal of ASI mirrors the DNR's goal to promote the safe and responsible use of ATVs, thereby reducing accidents and injuries that may result from the improper operation of ATVs. The primary difference between the two programs is the age and machine size restrictions enforced by ASI.
To register for the ATV RiderCourse®, contact the ASI Enrollment Express hotline at (800) 887-2887. To speak with a national representative about ATV safety, call (800) 852-5344. For more information on the ASI ATV RiderCourse® and for interactive safety information, log onto www.atvsafety.org.
The DNR has collaborated with Fresh Air Educators to make an online certification offering available for the ATV Education Program. The curriculum underwent a thorough review with industry leaders as well as representatives from numerous state agencies responsible for ATV safety education. State-specific information regarding riding opportunities, laws, and regulations is a component of the course.
This is a managed course which features interactive exercises for students as well as narrated content to assist with different learning styles. The study guide is free to all users, as well as Chapter 1 of the course. In order to progress past Chapter 1, students will be required to register for the course. The course fee is $34.95, which includes the $5 DNR fee for the education certificate. Students must pass a chapter quiz in order to progress to the next chapter and must pass a final exam with 80% accuracy to earn their certificate. There is no riding component for this course.
Topics covered by the course include, but are not limited to, parts of the machine and how they work, riding positions and when to use them, safety gear, personal responsibility, and conservation principles.
Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to print a temporary, paper certificate which will allow them to legally ride in Iowa until their permanent card is received. Students must be 12 or older to earn their ATV education certificate through ATVCourse.com.
For information about the program or to receive assistance with locating a class, please contact Rhonda Fowler, ATV Education Coordinator, at 515-725-8490 or Rhonda.Fowler@dnr.iowa.gov.