Stay safe on your OHV over Memorial Day: Buckle up and wear a helmet
Posted May 24, 2018
PHOENIX — As many people are gearing up to spend time outdoors over the Memorial Day weekend, the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) reminds everyone planning to ride an off-highway vehicle (OHV) to do so safely and responsibly.
Numerous fatal accidents last year involved utility task vehicles (UTVs) that rolled over and pinned the operator underneath. Wearing a seatbelt is critical because it will help keep the operator and any passengers inside the UTV in the event of an accident.
“We want everyone to get into the habit of wearing a seatbelt if their OHV is equipped with them,” said David Rigo, acting OHV coordinator for AZGFD. “It’s one of the most important and easiest ways to stay safe on a side-by-side.”
If children are a part of the adventure, they must wear a U.S. Department of Transportation-approved helmet. While helmets are required for all operators and passengers under the age of 18, they’re strongly recommended for everyone.
In addition, ride safely by following these practices:
- 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.
- Stay on designated trails.
- Take an OHV safety education course designed to teach off-road motorists how to ride safely and responsibly.
AZGFD officers and partner agencies will be out enforcing rules and regulations to ensure the safety of OHV operators and passengers. Citations and warnings are given for issues like failing to have a current OHV Decal and allowing children under the age of 18 to ride without a helmet. It’s also important to remember that OVHs and alcohol don’t mix — operating any vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is always illegal, regardless of what type of vehicle it is.
For more information about OHV riding in Arizona, including a list of locations to ride throughout the state, visit www.azgfd.gov/OHV.