State of the Art Technology Award

This award recognizes a trail-related product, process, or service that has significantly met a need, addressed an issue, or increased efficiency in trail design, development, or maintenance.


Chris McNeil

Young rider learning ATV safety

Wyoming develops All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) safety simulator

Chris McNeil is the statewide Trails Safety and Education Coordinator for the Wyoming State Trails Program. In 2006-07 the Trails Program began constructing a prototype for an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) safety simulator— the first of its kind. Expectations were high, only to be surpassed with actual office visits from school teachers thanking the trails program for instructing their students.

Chris McNeil began taking the simulator with him to county fairs, schools and city/county events. His decorated safety and education trailer, along with the simulator immediately attracted the attention of children and parents alike and gave Mr. McNeil the opportunity to educate families on the ideas of being safe and smart while having tons of fun.

While the simulator training proved to be a sensational success, Mr. McNeil was constantly thinking of ways to improve the concept. In the coming year with the assistance of RTP funding, Mr. McNeil will be promoting safety and education with a simulator not only for ATV users but also snowmobilers. The education discussions will also give him the opportunity to promote his helmet safety campaign.

Chris showing the All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) safety simulator

Chris showing the All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) safety simulator

The simulator has been constructed in such a way as to not only change out an ATV to a Snowmobile but to quickly add different sized ATVs and snowmobiles. Light construction provides for easy mobility. Therefore, the first (prototype) simulator can be left for general events and possible club and organizational event loaning.

The ATV Safety Simulator is a mechanical devise that hydraulically simulates angular movements of an All Terrain Vehicle traveling uphill, downhill, transverse hills left and right, cornering, or a combination of movements. Combined with a series of whole brain lesson plans from start to finish, 7 different active riding techniques are achieved.

Trailer housing the ATV safety training

Trailer housing the ATV safety training

The student actively takes the opportunity to feel the movement, angular forces, and learns proper safe riding skills per instruction. Therefore, instruction can be corrected and positively reinforced if needed. Along with riding skills; pre-riding safety (proper safety gear, weight vs. machine size, fit, hazards of riding double, etc.) is emphasized. The same concept will be used for snowmobile training. Ethics training will also be a big part of both the snowmobile and ATV education.

During the Spring, Summer, and Fall of 2007 a safety test survey was completed on the attitudes and behaviors of the youth riding ATVs. (Results of test survey are attached-please view supporting materials). In reviewing the surveys the initial concern was that approximately 95% of children in Wyoming had not received any type of formal ATV rider safety training/land ethics education. The children seemed clueless in regard to safe riding techniques and the consequences of not only that but also of misusing land resources.

A student trying out the ATV safety simulator

A student trying out the ATV safety simulator

In 2007 Mr. McNeil spoke with 1200 plus students through 6 schools, and traveled to 15 special events. In all he presented his message to over 3200 plus children and adults.

As of March 2008, Mr. McNeil has already scheduled 17 schools (Elementary and Jr. High) throughout the state estimating nearly 4 to 5 thousand students being instructed in the spring. Over the summer he estimates 20 special events totaling over 10,000 combined students spring and summer with the Youth Outreach Program.

“The quality of education kids are receiving through this safety program is remarkable,” replied Shoshoni School District. Wyoming State Trails Program is eager for eligible groups to take advantage of this free safety education and have it part of the curriculum each year. The recommended age groups are six years and up; all grades would benefit, including the teachers. Any parking lot will do (50’ X 50’) or inside larger shops, etc. Courses can be held all day long. For more information/schedule times, please call the Wyoming State Trails Safety and Education Coordinator Chris McNeil; 307-335-8747, 307-349-6365

More winners of this award

2015: Single Track, LLC

2013: Gerry Wilbour and the Northwest Trails Crew

2010: City of San Jose, Department of Parks, Recreation & Neighborhood Services

2006: Cedar Valley Trails 911 Signs Project, Iowa

2004: City of Austin

545 views • posted 12/25/2017