PHOENIX – If operating an off-highway vehicle (OHV) is part of your plans, the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) urges everyone to put safety first. The Consumer Federation of America reports 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, OHV coordinator for AZGFD. “We want everyone who spends time on their OHV to have a fun outing and more importantly, return home safely.”
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:
- Wear a helmet. They’re required for all operators and passengers under the age of 18 but are strongly recommended for everyone.
- Buckle up! Every trip, every time. Wearing a seatbelt is critical because it will help keep the operator and any passengers inside the side-by-side in the event of an accident.
- Only carry 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.
- Wear riding goggles, a long-sleeved shirt, pants, riding gloves and over-the-ankle boots.
- Never ride alone.
- Be prepared and equipped with a map, first-aid kit and whistle, and have basic tools on hand.
- Leave details about your trip (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, visit azgfd.gov/OHV.