Game and Fish highlights off-highway vehicle safety
BULLHEAD CITY — If operating an off-highway vehicle is part of your plans, Arizona Game and Fish Department is urging everyone to put safety first.
According to a release from the agency, Consumer Federation of America reported that most OHV fatalities occur in July and that July 4 is the day with the highest number of fatalities.
“We see many people out enjoying Arizona’s roads and trails around the holidays and especially the Fourth of July,” said David Rigo, AZGFD OHV coordinator. “We want everyone who spends time on their OHV to have a fun outing and more importantly, return home safely.”
The safety organization reported 210 OHV fatalities as of June 30, comprised mostly of all terrain vehicles and recreational off-highway vehicles.
There are many actions operators of OHVs — like all-terrain vehicles, dirt bikes and side-by-sides — can take to ride safely and help ensure the safety of those around them, officials said, including wearing a helmet. A helmet is required for all operators and passengers under the age of 18, but is strongly recommended for everyone.
Wearing a seatbelt — every trip, every time — is critical because it will help keep the operator and any passengers inside the side-by-side in the event of an accident, official said. Riders should wear riding goggles, a long-sleeved shirt, pants, riding gloves and over the ankle boots.
Other recommended safety tips include never riding alone. OHVs should carry only the number of passengers recommended by the vehicle’s manufacturer. Many accidents are the result of too many people riding a machine that was designed for fewer passengers.
Operators should be prepared and equipped with a map, first-aid kit and whistle, and have basic tools on hand and should leave trip details, including who’s going, where you’re going and when you expect to return, with a friend or family member who can follow up to ensure everyone made it home safely.
Stay on designated trails.
It’s also advised that all OHV enthusiasts, whether new to the hobby or veteran riders, take a safety education course. Numerous in-person and online courses are designed to teach off-road motorists how to operate their vehicle safely and responsibly. As an added bonus, insurance companies may offer discounted rates for people who have completed an OHV safety class.
For more information about rules and regulations as well as places to ride, go to www.azgfd.gov/OHV.