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Recreation Advocate

The OutdoorWire family websites feature news and information affecting outdoor recreation opportunities and access to public lands. 

10 tips for safe, responsible OHV riding during July 4th weekend

AZGFD encourages off-highway vehicle operators, passengers to ride safely

With the Fourth of July weekend upon us, many Arizona residents and visitors are planning to hop on their off highway vehicle (OHV). Before hitting the trail, 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. Whether riding in a side-by-side, all-terrain vehicle (ATV) or dirt bike, helmets are strongly recommended for all riders. However, those who are younger than18 years old are legally required to wear a Department of Transportation-approved helmet.

  • Eye protection is legally required for all riders if the OHV 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. Parents are responsible for their children’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. One of the biggest threats 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 vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is always illegal, regardless of what type of vehicle you’re operating. Alcohol and drugs drastically impair a person’s judgement, responsiveness and ability to operate the machine safely.
  • 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 www.servicearizona.com.
  • Maintain your machine properly, especially the spark arrester and muffler. Arresters help to protect against sparking a wildfire and mufflers help to reduce the noise emitted by OHVs.

For more information about OHV riding in Arizona, including a list of locations to ride statewide, visit www.azgfd.gov/OHV.

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