ATV Ramp Safety
Dr. John Woods 09.25.18
John J. Woods
Magnolia Outdoor Communications
ATV RAMP SAFETY
Loading and unloading an ATV from the bed of a pickup truck safely does not get much attention, but it is a dangerous undertaking. There are still many hunters, and others that carry their 4-Wheelers up in the back of their truck beds instead of on a trailer to tow. The loading and unloading procedure requires some safety precautions.
Without being too overly simplistic, naturally one has to know that their ATV will fit in the bed of their pickup truck. Some of the newer models are getting so big, they may be too wide for the wheel wells and most certainly could be too long to fit without the tailgate being left in the down position.
Next, consider the proper loading ramp, especially the overall length of it as well as the width of the individual ramps if there are two separate ones. Some ATV loading ramps come as bi-fold or even triple platform ramps. Be certain to be safe that the height of the tailgate off the ground and the length of the ramps provide as low an angle as possible.
ATV ramps come in many sizes from lengths of 65 inches to 90 or more inches long. Ramp widths vary from 10 to about 12 inches. The ramp surfaces vary widely too, so buy one with good tire gripping texture. A smooth ramp can result in tires slipping up the incline especially if wet, which during hunting seasons is often the case.
Every ATV ramp platform should come with some type of security strap or chain to connect to an inside the bed loop, or on the bumper or hitch of the truck. These safety straps keep the ramp(s) in position to prevent them from sliding out from under the ATV during the loading and unloading process.
If available it is easier to load an ATV up a ramp if the front of the truck is up a slight incline itself. On flat ground the angle is even steeper. The ramps should be attached and lined up properly with the wheel base of the ATV. Driving up the ramp should be done slowly and deliberately stopping in time to avoid hitting the back of the bed below the back truck window.
Once the ATV is in the bed, if the tailgate cannot be closed, because the rear ATV wheels rest on it, then the machine should be tie down strapped to the truck via ratchet straps from bed loops to the ATV racks front and rear. Lock the ATV brakes. On long haul trips, stop periodically to tighten the straps. Reverse this action for unloading and just use smart caution.