Safety / Teaching Techniques
The quad’s power and speed must be set to match the child’s capability at
all times. The parent is the only person responsible for the child’s safety.
By allowing the child to ride a quad, the parent accepts that this is his
sole responsibility and risk. The governor on the quad should be set to
allow the child to travel only at a walking pace while learning to ride.
The area in which the child is allowed to ride must be free of obstacles
that could be a danger to the child and free of people and animals that
could be injured. As the child’s capability increases, the quad’s speed
can gradually be increased but always only to a safe level.
The Meerkat 50's transmission can be locked into a gear for beginners, thereby driving like an automatic vehicle.
When the child has more experience, the gearbox can then be locked into a higher gear by replacing the gear lever and moving it into the higher gear, then removing the lever again. This way the quad will again function like an automatic vehicle. For older and more experienced children, the gear lever can be left on, giving the quad four semi-automatic gears. This unique design will take the child from beginner to expert, at which time she/he graduates to the next size quad. Please read and apply all the safety information in this manual and on the quad. This quad is designed for off-road use only.
*This advice especially relates to children on smaller ATVs but applies equally to beginners of all ages.
Your student’s safety depends on your commitment to take the time necessary to fully educate him/her on the proper operation of the ATV. Remember that proper instruction before your student begins to ride is just as important as proper instruction and supervision while riding. Please go through this manual with your student page by page. Fully explain all of the instructions, requirements and warnings it contains. Be sure to put as much emphasis on safety precautions as on proper operational techniques. Question your student as you go through the manual to ensure s/he understands what you are saying.
Following is a step-by-step guide to help make your student’s first use of the ATV safe and enjoyable. Before you begin to use this guide, however, be sure you have reviewed the vehicle features and riding techniques described in the the owners manual. Use this guide to teach each student whom you let ride the ATV. Be sure to take breaks as the student becomes tired or his/her attention starts to wander. Full attention at all times is needed to safely operate any motorized vehicle, including this ATV.
STEP 1: PROPER CLOTHING & PROTECTIVE GEAR
The first step to safe riding is proper protection of the rider. Your student should always wear a helmet, eye protection, gloves, long pants, a long-sleeved shirt or jacket and boots. Make sure your student is not wearing any loose-fitting clothes. Loose belts, scarves, etc., can get caught in moving parts and cause personal injury. Even in hot weather, make sure the student wears long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. These not only protect against abrasiveinjuries but also help reduce fatigue which comes from loss of body heat caused by exposure to the wind.
STEP 2: FAMILIARIZATION WITH THE VEHICLE
Your student should become completely familiar with the names and functions of all controls. Demonstrate operation of the controls if necessary. Ask the student to do such things as “Apply the brakes. Turn off the engine,” etc. Practice this exercise until the student can operate all of the controls without hesitation and without looking at the controls. Review the instructions with your student until she/he knows all the items that should be checked. Give specific examples of things to look for.
STEP 3: STARTING OFF AND STOPPING
To help your student develop confidence, she/he should PRACTICE FIRST WITH THE ENGINE OFF, as follows:
STEP 4: ADJUST THE SPEED LIMITER TO SLOW NOW.
- Have student sit on ATV.
- Instruct student to keep his/her eyes straight ahead while you slowly push the vehicle from behind. This will give the student the “feel” of riding a moving vehicle.
- As you push the ATV, instruct your student to steer straight ahead and perform operations such as stopping the vehicle and turning OFF the engine switch while moving. Watch your student closely to make sure she/he is operating the controls correctly and without looking at them.
- As you approach the end of the practice area, tell your student to stop the vehicle. You should drag the rear end of the ATV around so you can push it straight ahead in the opposite direction.
- Practice with the engine OFF until your student gets the “feel” of using the brakes and can stop the vehicle and turn OFF the engine switch without hesitation and without looking at the controls.
Next start the ATV’s engine and have the student practice starting off, riding in a straight line and stopping with the vehicle under power. Walk alongside the ATV and hold the engine cutout switch cord or have the student ride back and forth between you and another supervising adult. Make sure your student:
- Opens the throttle gently when starting off.
- Releases the throttle and applies the brakes in sequence when stopping.
- Becomes aware of the distance it takes the vehicle to stop when the engine switch is turned OFF while the vehicle is moving.
As you approach the end of the practice session, you should again tell the rider to stop the vehicle and get off so you can turn it around for him/her. Practice this exercise until your student can start off, accelerate, cruise and stop correctly and confidently.
STEP 5: TURNING:
After your student has learned to ride the ATV in a straight line and can stop it at will, you should teach the student how to turn the vehicle. Explain the proper body movements for turning and let the student PRACTICE FIRST WITH THE ENGINE OFF as you push the vehicle from behind. When turning, watch to make sure your student:
- Shifts his/her weight slightly forward and supports his/her weight on the outer footrest.
- Leans his/her upper body into the direction of the turn, pressing down with the opposite leg.
When the rider is able to properly turn the ATV in both directions with the engine OFF, she/he should practice turning with the vehicle under power. Again, make sure that the throttle limiter is adjusted to provide a low maximum speed capability. Watch closely to make sure the rider is using the proper technique. The rider should practice turning until s/he can do so correctly and confidently.
STEP 6: PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
When your student has mastered the basic riding maneuvers in the previously listed steps, she/he should practice them all together. Instruct the student to perform various maneuvers such as turning right, turning left, stopping, etc. Vary the order of these maneuvers so the student will not anticipate what s/he will be asked to do next. Practice this exercise until you are confident that the rider has mastered all the basic maneuvers. Using this procedure will help the first-time rider learn the most basic riding techniques. To become a skilled rider, your student will need a great deal of practice and continuing instruction in addition to completing these introductory steps. After all the riding techniques have been mastered, you can adjust the throttle limiter to provide higher speed capabilities in keeping with the rider’s skill and experience.
Choose a 50cc ATV should come with a special semi-automatic transmission that can start in any gear. It is recommended that you start the ATV in second or third gear with the speed limiter set to the slowest speed. Have you child ride the ATV and DO NOT have them use the foot gear shifter.
REMEMBER: SAFETY FIRST!
As your child learns control and basics, you should slowly increase the speed limiter to a speed that you are comfortable with. There is no need to teach the child to use the foot shifter until they are ready.
Riding the ATV in second or third gear all the time will not hurt the ATV. It can be used similar to an automatic transmission, while it may not start out very fast, they can reach your approved speed while staying in any gear. (We do not recommend that you leave the unit in first gear using this method. We have found that second gear is optimum).
For children that have little or no experience with ATV riding, it is also recommended that you remove the gear shift lever altogether. This will prevent your child from accidentally shifting gears, which could cause an accident. You can re-install the gear shifter at a later date once you feel comfortable with your child’s ability to ride and shift gears.
To help you ride and operate the quad safely, here is some advice you should heed. Only you can protect yourself. Your safety and the safety of minors in your care is your responsibility.
- Pay attention to and obey the warning labels on the vehicle. If they become faded or are removed, replace them immediately.
- Take instruction and make certain you are fully aware of – and able to operate – the vehicle’s controls.
- Ride under the instruction of a competent teacher until you are an experienced rider.
- Never carry passengers, as this alters the handling characteristics dangerously. 5. Never exceed the recommended load capacity. Cargo should be properly distributed and securely attached. If carrying a load, allow greater distances for braking and reduce your speed, especially if pulling a small trailer. Overloading or improper loading can cause mechanical failure, loss of control and unnecessary danger.
- Always wear an approved helmet that fits snugly as well as eye protection, gloves, a longsleeved jacket and long pants.
- These vehicles are designed and manufactured for off-road use only. It is illegal and unsafe to use this machine on any public street, road or highway, tarred, dirt, paved or cement.
- Never operate the ATV on paved, tarred or cement surfaces.
- Check local riding laws and regulations before operating this machine.
- Check local environmental laws and respect them. Redcat urges you to keep the environment clean, safe and beautiful for all to enjoy, including yourself.
- Riding an ATV is serious; it can be hazardous to operate. A collision or rollover can occur quickly, often with serious consequences. Even in routine maneuvers such as turning, riding over obstacles and on sloping ground or across water, mud or loose surfaces, the quad handles differently from other vehicles.
- Never attach unauthorized accessories to the ATV.
- Always keep both hands and both feet securely on the ATV.
- Never attempt stunts, jumps, wheelies or other tricks.
- Never ride faster than your skill or conditions permit.
- Never ride when tired or after consuming alcohol or drugs or while experiencing any dangerous medical condition.
- Inspect your ATV each time you use it to make sure there are no mechanical faults or problems with tires, brakes or controls. Your ATV must be in safe operating condition at all times, with sufficient oil, gas, and brake fluid and tire pressure.
- Always follow inspection and maintenance procedures as recommended.
- Never use your ATV in flowing water or in water deeper than 5 inches.
- Always use the recommended tires and pressures to reduce the risk of tire failure.
- Always turn the engine OFF when refueling.
- Don’t run the engine in an enclosed area —THIS CAN BE FATAL.
- Engine oil from a recently run motor can be very hot. When draining oil for an oil change, be careful.
- Be sure to replace fuses with ONLY the correct ones; using an incorrect fuse can cause a fire.
- When checking battery fluid, remember that a spark could cause the battery to explode. Switch the engine and power OFF and avoid sparks.
- Never put your feet on the ground when the vehicle is starting off or moving.
- It is your responsibility to ensure that the ATV is properly and safely ridden and maintained.
- People should not operate an ATV beyond their physical or mental limits or capabilities.
- Keep the Owner’s Manual in a safe place on the vehicle or under the seat at all times.
- While you are learning to ride, use an ATV only on level, open ground away from people.
- Obey government laws at all times.
- Contact your dealer about anything related to the ATV that you do not understand or need advice about.
- If you allow an untrained person to use the ATV, you are endangering his/her life and the lives of others.
- Check that the ATV throttle, accelerator and cables are free and working. A jammed throttle can cause an expensive and injurious accident.
- REDCAT cannot be held responsible for your lack of knowledge. If you don’t know, ask your dealer. You ride at your own risk.
- In some countries ATVs with 50cc or smaller engines cannot be driven by those aged 6 and under.
- Riders under age 16 should ride only with adult supervision and only after training.
- All riders should take a course of safety instruction.
- Never use gasoline (petrol) to clean the ATV.
- A slight spark could cause a fatal explosion. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby when working on the ATV.
- Excessive “play” or slippage on a chain drive can cause the chain to break which could, in turn, cause a serious accident.
- “Grabbing,” shuddering or lack of braking ability could mean there is a serious brake problem. This must be fixed before riding or serious injury could result.
- The high-tension wire from the CDI unit to the sparkplug generates extremely high voltage and can cause a serious or fatal shock if touched with the power on.
- Don’t touch any part of the engine, exhaust or silencer until it has cooled down.
- Don’t siphon toxic liquids such as fuel or brake fluid by mouth or allow them to remain on your skin.
- Wipe up IMMEDIATELY any oil or grease that could cause you to slip or lose control of the ATV.
- Don’t allow animals or children to be around an unattended ATV.
- Keep loose clothing and long hair well out of the way of moving parts.
- Remember: MANY PEOPLE HAVE LOST FINGERS OR LIMBS that were pulled into moving parts, especially chains. DO NOT WORK ON THE ATV WITH THE ENGINE RUNNING.
- If, despite following all these precautions, you are injured, seek medical attention immediately.