10 Tips For Safe, Responsible OHV Riding Memorial Day Weekend
— PHOENIX–The Memorial Day weekend is upon us and many Arizona residents and visitors are planning to hop on their off highway vehicle (OHV). Before hitting the trail while camping or out for a day of riding, the Arizona Game and Fish Department reminds operators and passengers to do so safely and responsibly by following these 10 tips:
- Always wear a helmet. Kids under 18 years old are required by law to wear a Department of Transportation-approved helmet at all times while riding in a side-by-side, an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) or dirt bike. Helmets are strongly recommended for all riders 18 and older as well. Accidents often occur when riders least expect them to, so prepare for the worst and protect yourself because OHVs do not provide the same protections as a regular vehicle.
- Eye protection is required by law for the OHV operator, if the vehicle is not equipped with a windshield.
- Wear proper clothing, including riding gloves, a long-sleeve shirt, pants and over-the-ankle boots.
- Supervise children under 16 years old. Be sure your child is riding an age-appropriate vehicle. Adult model machines may be too large and powerful for a child to safely operate. Also remember that juveniles without a valid driver’s license are not legally allowed to operate an OHV on maintained dirt roads or city streets. Parents will be held responsible for their child’s safety.
- Only ride with the number of passengers for which the machine is designed. One of the biggest causes of OHV-related injuries is riding with more than the recommended number of passengers. Carrying a passenger can make riding difficult and change how the vehicle responds.
- Stay on designated trails. A large threat to sustainable OHV recreation in Arizona is the closure of riding areas due to irresponsible use. Protect the state’s fragile natural resources, and your ability to visit such spots, by staying on designated trails and avoiding sensitive habitat areas.
- Be prepared and equipped. Take area maps and guides, and have a compass, first aid kit, whistle, tire repair kit, tow rope or chain and other basic tools on hand. Also make sure to bring sunscreen, water and food.
- Avoid drinking alcohol and/or drugs. Operating any OHV under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is illegal. Alcohol and drugs drastically impair a person’s judgement, responsiveness and ability to operate the machine safely. The consequences of a DUI while operating an OHV on a trail are the same as a DUI for any vehicle on the highway. Ride safe, ride sober.
- Register your OHV and purchase an OHV Decal. All vehicles designed primarily for travel on unimproved terrain and weighing less than 1,800 pounds are required to have an OHV Decal to operate on public and state lands. License plates and decals are available at any Arizona Motor Vehicle Division location or at servicearizona.com.
- Maintain your machine properly, especially the spark arrester and muffler. Arresters help to protect against igniting a wildfire and mufflers help to reduce the noise emitted by OHVs.
For more information about OHV laws and riding in Arizona, including a list of locations to ride statewide, visit www.azgfd.gov/OHV.