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OHV Users: Make this a safe Independence Day weekend

If you’re heading to Arizona’s high country this holiday weekend, chances are good that you may be taking an Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) with you. Thousands of Arizonans will enjoy off-roading with an OHV this weekend, and the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) wants everyone thinking about safety.

“OHVs are an excellent way to enjoy the trails and back roads of Arizona, provided OHV riders use courtesy, common sense and follow a few simple rules,” said OHV Law Enforcement Program Coordinator Mark Stewart. “As always, we urge drivers to be responsible, avoid alcohol, stay on trails and be courteous when you encounter others.”

One of the biggest causes of OHV injuries is riding with more than the recommended number of passengers. Proper riding techniques require operators to shift their weight and change position to keep control of the machine, and carrying a passenger can make riding difficult and change how the vehicle responds. Many roll-over crashes can be attributed to improper carrying of passengers on an OHV.

Another leading cause of injury is the lack of proper safety equipment. Riders under age 18 are required to wear a helmet, and AZGFD recommends helmets for everyone. Goggles or a face shield must be worn to protect against eye injuries from flying debris. Gloves, elbow guards, special riding pants and boots that cover the ankle are also recommended.

While there are areas and trails specifically designed for OHV use, one of the biggest threats to sustainable OHV recreation in Arizona is the closure of riding areas due to irresponsible use. To protect Arizona’s fragile natural resources, and your ability to visit such spots, stay on designated trails and avoid sensitive habitat areas.

Another key to safe OHV travel is being properly prepared and equipped. Be sure to take area maps and guides, a compass, first aid kit, whistle, tire repair kit, tow rope or chain and other basic tools in case someone in your party has mechanical problems. Make sure bring sunscreen, a hat extra water and food, and it is always safer (and more fun) to ride with others.

All children under 16 must be supervised. Be sure your child is riding an age-appropriate vehicle because a large powerful machine may be more than a child can handle. Parents are responsible for their children’s safety.

“Most importantly, always call the land management agency responsible for the area you want to visit,” said Stewart. “With fire restrictions and other closures throughout Arizona, you’ll want to make sure your favorite area is accessible before you drive all the way there.”

For more information about OHV riding in Arizona, visit: http://www.azgfd.gov/outdoor_recreation/arizona_ohv_trails.shtml

Did you know? Arizona hunting and fishing licenses are a great value. You can get combination hunting and fishing licenses for a family of four for less than the price of one night in a motel. Great Outdoors, Great Value! http://www.azgfd.gov/eservices/licenses_newFees.shtml


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