Exercise safe, responsible OHV use over the Memorial Day weekend

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May 21st, 2009

As off-highway vehicle recreationists throughout the state prepare to take advantage of the busy Memorial Day weekend, the Arizona Game and Fish Department reminds all OHV users to practice safe and responsible use when out on the roads and trails. ***image3:left***

OHV recreation can be fun and enjoyable but needs to be done safely and within laws and regulations so as not to detract from your or others’ enjoyment of the outdoors.

The department offers these tips to help ensure a safe and enjoyable operating experience.

  • Those 18 and younger are required by law to wear a properly fitted and fastened helmet when riding on an OHV. For safety reasons, it is recommended that all riders wear a helmet, including operators and passengers of side-by-sides.
  • Only carry the number of passengers that a vehicle is made to carry. Particularly on ATVs, proper riding techniques require operators to shift their weight and position continually. Carrying a passenger can impede proper riding technique and drastically change how the vehicle responds. Many roll-over accidents can be attributed to the improper carrying of passengers on an ATV.
  • Riding areas and trail conditions can change dramatically in a very short time due to weather and other factors. Remember to assess the current conditions and be aware of possible hazards. Hazards to look out for include washouts, soil piping, obstacles, erosion, and other users.
  • Always work to protect wildlife and wildlife habitat by staying on the roads and trails. If the current riding area isn’t enough of a challenge for you, don’t create your own route. Instead, try another riding area. Click here for a list of places to ride.
  • “Operating while under the influence” laws are the same for OHVs as they are for any vehicle on a roadway. Never drink and drive, and always designate a driver.
  • Always tell someone explicitly where you are going to be riding and when you plan to return.

Game and Fish recommends that off-highway vehicle operators take an OHV education class to become a more knowledgeable rider. The ATV Safety Institute (ASI), the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) and the Arizona State Association of Four-Wheel Drive Clubs are all examples of organizations that currently provide safety courses and training. There are classes year-round to give you hands-on experience on your vehicle. For more information on OHV education, visit www.azgfd.gov.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is close to launching an online OHV education course. The goal of this education effort is to create informed users that make prudent decisions while riding. Increasing awareness of the importance of safe and responsible riding is a cornerstone to ensuring future access opportunities.

For more information about safe, ethical and responsible OHV use in Arizona, go online to www.azgfd.gov/ohv.

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