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

Fatal off-highway vehicle accidents serve as reminders to practice OHV safety

PHOENIX –The Arizona Game and Fish Department reminds all off-highway vehicle (OHV) drivers and passengers to wear the proper safety gear and ride responsibly in the wake multiple separate accidents.

Since Thanksgiving, three people have died in accidents on OHVs. The first occurred in Mohave County after an ATV rolled, killing an 11-year-old female passenger and injuring the 12-year-old driver, according to the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office.

The second accident claimed the life of a veteran Phoenix Fire captain who rolled the side-by-side he was driving while on an elk hunt south of the Grand Canyon, according to the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office. Over the weekend, an 18-year-old Arizona State University student died after his ATV collided with a tree. 

“It only takes a split-second for tragedy to strike,” said Josh Hurst, AZGFD Off-Highway Vehicle Program coordinator. “The last few weeks have shown us that OHV accidents can happen to anybody at any time and that is why all riders and their passengers should wear the proper safety equipment at all times. Helmets save lives.”

Riders and operators are reminded that helmets are required by law for all riders under the age of 18 regardless of the off-highway vehicle type. However, they are strongly recommended for all riders. In addition riders should remember to:

  • Wear a seat belt at all times, if equipped.
  • Only carry the number of passengers recommended by the manufacturer for your vehicle. Often 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, a first aid kit, 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.

For more information about the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s OHV program and safety course options, visit www.azgfd.gov/ohv

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