By Justin Loch
membership director

Farm and Ranch Safety has always been important to Montana Farmers Union and its members. National Farmers Union, with funding from Montana Farmers Union and other Farmers Union states, has developed a whole farm safety program with videos that are available and free to the public at NFU.org. While all safety is important, one area has caused growing concern and that is ATV accidents and deaths. ATVs are used by a large population of all ages both in and out of agriculture. After spending considerable amount of time and research MFU has worked to put together a program to bring awareness to safety to all who use ATVs. This winter Montana Farmers Union purchased an ATV Simulator that will be taken all over the state and available for the public to use. The idea is to focus on safe riding techniques to avoid roll overs and tipping of ATVs. The simulator puts an ATV on a tilting table and replicates an ATV moving about on side hills, and up and down hills.

MFU ATV simulator at the MAGIE in Great Falls

The table moves about in a slow and realistic motion so that the rider can see how they need to move their body to maintain a safe riding position and also to avoid tipping or rollover. The ATV is open to users of all ages, both child and adult. Along with the simulator MFU has other information to pass on in regards to safety gear and general rules to help avoid accidents.Just to give you an idea as to how serious ATV accidents are, Montana is one of the nation’s leaders in accidents and deaths. Over the last three years Montana has averaged between 8-10 deaths per year caused by an ATV. There isn’t real accurate statistics on sole ATV accidents as many go unreported. But it’s been speculated there is at least one per day across the state. As a nation over 102,000 accidents were reported in the U.S. in 2017. Over 24,000 of the reported accidents reported involved children under the age of 16. Deaths associated with ATV’s in 2017 were reported to be just over 340. As you can see there is a significant number of injuries and deaths with ATV’s. MFU’s hope is that we can help lower those statistics in our state.

Look for us travelling across Montana to help bring ATV safety awareness.If we can prevent one accident or help save one life then our efforts are worth it. Please talk to the MFU office if you are interested in booking the ATV simulator in your community. We would be happy to try and accommodate your event. Call the state office at 452-6406.